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Palestinian peace negotiator arrested for spying

Palestinian officials say they have arrested a member of their peace negotiating department for spying for Israel.

The man, whose name was not released, is part of the management staff in the umbrella Palestinian Liberation Organisation's (PLO) negotiations department and is accused of "collaborating with Israel", a security official told Reuters news agency.

Palestinians take part in a protest just outside Jerusalem's Old City Credit: Ammar Awad/Reuters

Another official said the suspect had been arrested two weeks ago.

The development likely to deepen distrust between the sides at a time of deadlocked diplomacy and simmering street violence.

Israeli officials did not immediately respond.

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John Kerry 'deeply concerned' over Israel-Palestine clashes

US Secretary of State John Kerry has spoken separately to Israeli and Palestinian leaders to express "deep concern over the recent wave of violence".

A Palestinian protester returns a tea gas canister fired by Israeli troops during clashes. Credit: Reuters

In a statement the Department of State said Kerry "reiterated the importance of strongly condemning violence and combating incitement."

It comes after four Palestinian teenagers were killed and five Israelis wounded on Saturday, as violent outbursts between the two sides escalate.

Israeli security forces shot dead two Palestinians aged 12 and 15 in protests along Gaza's border fence, Palestinian medics said, and Israeli police said they had killed three knife-wielding Palestinian assailants in Jerusalem.

Two separate knife attacks were carried out on Saturday near Damascus Gate, one of the main entries into Jerusalem’s Old City.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas have called for calm, but there has been little sign of the violence abating.

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