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Netanyahu decries writer's death, stresses Saudi stability

SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday called the slaying of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi a horrendous act that "should be duly dealt with" in a way that doesn't undermine Saudi Arabia's stability.

Netanyahu said at a news conference in Bulgaria that Iran is a bigger threat than Saudi Arabia and those who want to punish the Middle East kingdom need to bear that in mind. "A way must be found to achieve both goals because I think that the larger problem is Iran," said the Israeli leader, who attended a meeting of the prime ministers of Bulgaria, Greece and Romania and the president of Serbia at a Black Sea resort.

Netanyahu said Israel was involved in French and Danish investigations this year of alleged plots by Iranian intelligence agencies to attack Iranian opposition figures in Europe. Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post, was killed inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.

Also on Friday, Bulgarian authorities said they detained three Iranian citizens who allegedly tried to enter Bulgaria with forged Israeli passports on Wednesday. The Interior Ministry said the three men, ages 21, 28 and 32, arrived by bus from Turkey. The ministry said border police established that the Israeli passports they carried were counterfeit.

Police did not provide other details and there was no evidence the arrests were related to Netanyahu's visit.

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