Reacting to the discovery of a body believed to be that of an abducted Palestinian teenager, Palestinians clashed with Israeli troops in Jerusalem Tuesday. The body was found in a forest, stoking tensions in a city still coping with the deaths of three abducted Israeli teens.
The slain Israeli teens were found Monday in the Israeli-occupied West Bank after an intense and highly publicized search.
The abduction of Palestinian Mohammed Abu Khdeir, 17, early Wednesday is being viewed by many as possible retribution for the young men’s deaths. Police say they haven’t yet proven that the recovered body is that of Khdair.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered a fast investigation into the death, which he called “reprehensible.” He also urged people “not to take the law into their own hands.”
Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports, “The office of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas released a statement saying, “Israel bears full responsibility for this incident. The Israeli police and security forces must bring those responsible to justice.”
Clashes broke out between Israeli police and Palestinians who had gathered at the missing boy’s home and other spots. Images from Israel today show tires being set ablaze and rocks being thrown.
“Masked Palestinian youth threw stones at Israeli police, who responded with stun grenades,” Daniel Estrin reports from Jerusalem for our Newscast unit. “The clashes took place outside a mosque in east Jerusalem, where eyewitnesses said a group of Israelis forced a Palestinian teenager into a vehicle” earlier Wednesday.
Daniel adds that the violence comes one day after the abducted Israeli teens were buried – an event that sparked new unrest.
“Yesterday, several hundred ultra-nationalist Israelis marched through Jerusalem,” he says, “calling to avenge the deaths of the three abducted Israeli teens. Police said there were several instances of Israelis attacking Palestinians.”
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat condemned the killing.
“This is a horrible and barbaric act which I strongly condemn,” he said in a statement cited by the BBC. “This is not our way and I am fully confident that our security forces will bring the perpetrators to justice.”
“We are concentrating on two things,” said Israeli police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld, according to CNN, “whether the two incidents are related, and we’re looking into whether this is a crime or nationalistic.”