Clashes spread after Palestinian boy’s funeral
Jerusalem : Clashes between Israeli police and Palestinian protesters spread from Jerusalem to Arab towns in northern Israel Saturday following the funeral of an Arab teenager who Palestinians say was killed by Israeli extremists in a revenge attack.
Riots erupted in east Jerusalem Friday as thousands of Palestinians massed for the burial of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir.
The violence spread to northern Arab towns on Saturday morning, Israeli police spokeswoman Luba Samri said. Protesters there threw rocks at passing cars, burned tires and threw rocks and fire bombs at police, who responded with tear gas and stun grenades. More than 20 people were arrested, she said.
Palestinian protesters in Jerusalem also used an electric saw to damage the light rail that connects the heavily Arab populated eastern sector of the city with the mostly Jewish West, Samri said.
Israel’s Arab minority enjoys full citizenship rights but some complain of discrimination and the group widely identifies with the Palestinians.
Tensions have been high since three Israeli teenagers were abducted in the West Bank on June 12, sparking a huge manhunt that ended with the gruesome discovery of their bodies earlier this week.
The unrest escalated in east Jerusalem on Wednesday after Abu Khdeir’s burned body was found in a forest. Palestinians accused Israeli extremists of killing the boy to avenge the deaths of the Israeli teens. Israeli police said an investigation is still underway and they have not yet determined who killed the boy or why.
Israeli leaders widely condemned the killing of the youth, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed those responsible would be brought to justice.