East Jerusalem clashes flare ahead of funeral

Palestinians and Israeli police clash before funeral for Mohammed Abu Khdair, killed in apparent revenge attack.

    East Jerusalem clashes flare ahead of funeral
    Police told the family to collect the body of Mohammed Abu Khdair on Friday [Getty]

    East Jerusalem - Palestinians and with Israeli police have clashed for a third day in occupied East Jerusalem, ahead of the emotionally-charged funeral of a Palestinian teenager believed murdered by Israelis.

    Israeli police said they used "riot control means" on stone-throwing Palestinians on Friday in the third day of violence since Mohammed Abu Khdair, 16, was kidnapped and found dead on Wednesday.

    His death is a suspected revenge attack for the abduction and murder of three Israeli settlers last month.

    "Dozens of Palestinian youngsters, some masked, threw stones at police in Ras al-Amud," Israeli police said on Twitter, referring to an area of East Jerusalem.  

    "The police drove them off with riot control means," a term usually referring to tear gas or stun grenades.

    The violence came as Abu Khdair's family prepared for his funeral in nearby Shuafat.

    After two days of forensic tests and a post-mortem exam, police told his father to collect the body on Friday afternoon.

    Police say they still have not identified the killers, or their motive. "Regardless of the motive, this murder is reprehensible, and we will bring those responsible to justice," said the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday night.

    Channel 10 reported on Thursday night that the car used to abduct Abu Khdair was the same one used in an attempted kidnapping of another Palestinian child, a day earlier. 

    The bodies of the three Jewish settlers - Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaer and Naftali Frenkel - were found in a valley outside Hebron on Monday.

    Tens of thousands of people attended their funeral in Modi’in on Tuesday. Calls for revenge have circulated widely on social media, and on Thursday four soldiers were jailed for incitement over their posts.

    This is also the first Friday of Ramadan, when tens of thousands of Palestinians gather to pray at Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. Israel has barred access to most men, allowing only those over the age of fifty to enter.

    A police spokesman said hundreds of extra officers have been sent to the old city and Palestinian areas of East Jerusalem in anticipation of clashes.

    Separately, the Israeli army sent reinforcements to the border with the Gaza Strip on Thursday, amid intensifying rocket fire on southern Israel. The deployment came after 11 Palestinians were wounded in Israeli air raids on Gaza.

    Netanyahu said that the reinforcements were "preparing for the possibility" of "act forcefully".

    Local media reported on Friday that Israel had given Hamas a 48-hour ultimatum to stop the rocket fire.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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