US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has expressed his sorrow for "innocent" Palestinians killed in a spike of violence in the occupied West Bank, after meeting Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas.
Washington's top diplomat met Abbas on Tuesday in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah on the final stop on a Middle East tour aimed at curbing the bloodshed, following meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and cabinet minister.
Both sides are reeling from a new wave of violence. A Palestinian shot dead seven people in an Israeli settlement in annexed East Jerusalem on Friday, a day after the deadliest army raid in years in the West Bank claimed 10 Palestinian lives.
This month the conflict has killed 35 Palestinian adults and children as well as six Israeli civilians, including a child, and one Ukrainian, killed on Friday.
Speaking in Ramallah, Blinken expressed his "sorrow for the innocent Palestinian civilians who have lost their lives in escalating violence over the last year".
The year 2022 was the deadliest in the occupied West Bank since the United Nations started tracking fatalities in the occupied territory in 2005.
"Palestinians and Israelis alike are experiencing growing insecurity, growing fear in their homes, in their communities and in their places of worship," said Blinken.
The US envoy's remarks alongside the Palestinian leader came a day after he met with Netanyahu, when he urged both sides to take "urgent steps" to calm tensions.
Blinken on Monday also condemned Palestinians "who celebrate... acts of terrorism that take innocent lives," in the wake of the shooting in east Jerusalem.
After meeting Palestinian residents in the West Bank, the US top diplomat said he saw a "shrinking horizon of hope" for Palestinians.
READ MORE: Israeli-Palestinian rising violence tests US as Blinken visits region
Before heading to the occupiedWest Bank on Tuesday, Blinken met new Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, who took office as part of the right-wing government Netanyahu formed in December.
Gallant praised Blinken for his "unwavering support" in helping safeguard Israel's military superiority in the region.
The fatal East Jerusalem shooting was preceded by the Israeli forces' deadliest operation in the West Bank in years, killing 10 people Thursday in the densely populated Jenin refugee camp. Israel said its forces targeted Islamic Jihad operatives.
The Israeli military later hit sites in besieged Gaza in response to rocket fire from the Palestinian enclave.
Hamas said Blinken's visit "emphasises the absolute support and partnership with the (Israeli) occupation".
Netanyahu's cabinet has moved to punish the families of the attackers with home demolitions and other measures.
His government is also planning to rescind the rights to social security benefits of attackers' relatives, and steps to make it easier for Israeli citizens to obtain permits to carry firearms.
READ MORE: Blinken calls for de-escalation in flaring Israeli-Palestinian conflict