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Israel claims new land in West Bank

JERUSALEM — Israel announced the expropriation of about 1,000 acres of West Bank land Sunday in a step that could help clear the way for construction of a new Jewish settlement.

Military officials said the decision was made at the end of an operation in June to search for three Israeli teens who were abducted and killed by Hamas militants. The Hamas kidnapping and murder of the teens sparked a chain of events that led to the 50-day war in the Gaza Strip.

The expropriated land is in Gush Etzion, an area near Jerusalem where the teens were abducted. Israel hopes to keep the area under any future peace deal with the Palestinians.

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Nabil Abu Rdeneh, spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, condemned the Israeli move and called for the decision to be revoked. He told the Palestinian news agency WAFA that it ‘‘leads to deterioration in the situation.’’

The Israeli housing ministry said the announcement is just the first step and it will be several years before anything is built there.

The military said opponents have 45 days to appeal Sunday’s decision.

Associated Press