Israel slams Iranian compensation for Palestinian attackers

AP News
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Posted: Feb 25, 2016 2:10 PM

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's prime minister said Thursday an Iranian offer to compensate the families of Palestinians killed in a wave of Israeli-Palestinian violence, among them attackers, proves Iran continues to "aid terrorism" even after the landmark nuclear deal signed last year.

His comments come a day after Iran's ambassador to Lebanon said Iran would pay $7,000 to the families of killed Palestinians to "enable the Palestinian people to stay in their land and confront the occupier," Ambassador Mohammad Fathali was quoted as saying by Lebanon's state-run National News Agency.

Near-daily Palestinian attacks since mid-September have killed 28 Israelis. At least 166 Palestinians have been killed, 119 of them said by Israel to have died while attacking Israelis. The rest have been killed in clashes with Israeli troops.

"This shows that Iran, even after the nuclear agreement, is continuing to aid terrorism ... This is something that the nations of the world must confront and condemn and assist Israel — and other countries, of course — in repelling," Netanyahu said ahead of a meeting with the visiting Bulgarian prime minister.

Netanyahu was a vehement opponent of last year's nuclear deal, in part because it did not address Iran's support of militant groups opposed to Israel. Netanyahu warned Iran would use the billions of dollars in sanctions relief to continue financing militant groups.

Despite the deep skepticism from Netanyahu and other regional players, the U.S. tried to promote the deal as the beginning of a new chapter in relations with the Islamic Republic.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who negotiated the Iran deal, said he was "extremely disturbed" by the compensation offer.

"That's completely inappropriate and seems to lend some sort of credibility to that violence ... and I think it's the wrong choice by Iran," Kerry told the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

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Associated Press writers Bassem Mroue in Beirut, Lebanon, and Matt Lee in Washington contributed to this report.