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Diplomacy plea after Israeli college shooting

Switzerland has condemned an attack on a Jewish rabbinical seminary in Jerusalem, in which a Palestinian shot eight students dead.

This content was published on March 7, 2008 - 16:21

In a statement on Friday, the Swiss foreign ministry expressed shock at the attack and reiterated the government's concern over the "constant degradation" of the situation in Gaza and the south of Israel.

The militant Hamas group claimed responsibility for the attack at the Merkaz Harav seminary library in the Kiryat Moshe quarter in west Jerusalem on Thursday evening but later backtracked.

Switzerland called on all parties involved in the Middle East conflict to respect international humanitarian law, which prohibits in particular acts of violence against the civilian population.

"These acts of violence are preventing peace. Only the diplomatic way will allow the creation of a Palestinian state, living in peace and security with Israel," the statement added.

Israel imposed a security clampdown on Jerusalem and the West Bank on Friday to prevent further violence. Police set up roadblocks and the army tightened restrictions on Palestinians travelling in and from the occupied West Bank for 36 hours.

It was the bloodiest attack on Israelis in two years and the first such bloodshed in four years in Jerusalem. Open-air funerals were being held for the victims, who were aged 15-26.

The Merkaz Harav seminary has long been an ideological base for the Jewish settler movement in the occupied Palestinian territories.

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