Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the suspected kidnapping and murder of a Palestinian youth in Jerusalem as “despicable” on Wednesday, amid suspicions that the boy was targeted in revenge for the deaths of three abducted Israeli teens.
The Palestinian youth was reportedly seen forced into a vehicle in Shuafat, an Arab suburb of east Jerusalem, on Tuesday night.
Micky Rosenfeld, a spokesman for Israeli police, said police had been notified of a teen “pulled into a vehicle and possibly kidnapped” and roadblocks were set up in search of suspects.
Later “police discovered a body in the Jerusalem forest and were looking to see if there was a connection between the missing youth and the body that was found”, Rosenfeld said.
A security source speaking on condition of anonymity said Israel suspected the youth had been kidnapped and killed, possibly in retribution for the killings of the Israeli teens. Israeli radio also described the incident as a “suspected revenge attack”.
The Palestinian youth has since been identified by residents and Palestinian media as 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khudair.
"Prime Minister Netanyahu asked the investigating authorities to work as quickly as possible to find out who was behind the despicable murder of the youth, and what is the background of the incident," a statement from Netanyahu’s office said.
The Israeli prime minister, who made his comments just moments after Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas demanded that Israel condemn the incident, also urged all sides not to take the law into their own hands.
But Hamas, who blame Israel for the Palestinian teen’s murder, said Israel would "pay for its crimes."
Meanwhile, Palestinians clashed with Israeli forces in Jerusalem as word of the suspected attack spread. Hundreds of Arab youths blocked the city’s light railway and threw rocks at police, who responded with rubber bullets.
There were no reports of serious injuries.
On Tuesday, tens of thousands of mourners attended the funeral of the three murdered Israeli teens. Israel has blamed Hamas militants for their deaths. The Palestinian group has denied the allegation.
While the teenagers were being buried in the city of Modi’in, dozens of Israelis, some chanting “Death to Arabs”, blocked a road in Jerusalem.
Tensions were also high in the West Bank, where around 40 Palestinians were arrested in raids throughout the West Bank on Tuesday, the latest in a campaign by Israel to cripple Hamas there. Four people were wounded by live bullets early on Wednesday in an Israeli raid in the Palestinian city of Jenin.
In a separate incident, Israeli forces destroyed on Wednesday the home of a Palestinian arrested this month on charges of shooting dead an off-duty police officer in the West Bank in April, reviving a punitive policy suspended in 2005 amid a waning Palestinian uprising.
Israel says demolishing the homes of Palestinians involved in attacks on Israelis has a deterrent effect. Rights groups have condemned the practice as collective punishment.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS)
Date created : 2014-07-02