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A Palestinian toddler was burned to death and four family members wounded in an arson attack by suspected Jewish settlers on two homes in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on Friday. The attack added to tensions between Israelis and Palestinians, sparking protests by hundreds of people and sporadic clashes, while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a rare call to Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in a bid to avoid further escalation. While Netanyahu called the firebombing in Duma village near the northern city of Nablus "an act of terrorism in every respect", the Palestine Liberation Organisation said it held his government "fully responsible".
The Afghan Taliban named Mullah Akhtar Mansour as their new chief Friday, a historic power transition that raises hopes a more moderate leadership will pave the way for peace talks despite divisions within insurgent ranks. The Taliban also announced his deputies -- Sirajuddin Haqqani, who leads the Taliban-allied Haqqani network and has a $10 million US bounty on his head, and Haibatullah Akhundzada, former head of the Taliban courts. The appointment of Mansour, seen as a pragmatist and a proponent of peace talks, comes a day after the Taliban confirmed the death of their near-mythical leader Mullah Omar, who led the fractious group for some 20 years.