Teen's murder sparks clashes in Jerusalem
A PALESTINIAN teenager was kidnapped and killed yesterday in an apparent act of revenge for the murder by militants of three Israeli youths, triggering clashes in East Jerusalem.
Israel's army radio said the teenager was snatched while hitchhiking in East Jerusalem and his body dumped in a forest in the western part of the city, in what was described as a "suspected revenge attack".
As news spread, crowds of angry Palestinians gathered outside the teenager's home and began throwing stones at police, who responded with sound bombs and rubber bullets, an AFP correspondent and the police said.
Two journalists were slightly injured by rubber bullets.
Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat denounced the murder and called for calm.
"This is a horrible and barbaric act, which I strongly condemn. This is not our way, and I am fully confident that our security forces will bring the perpetrators to justice," he said in a statement.
"I call on everyone to exercise restraint."
Tensions have soared across the region since June 12, when three Israeli teenagers disappeared while hitchhiking in the West Bank. Their bodies were found on Monday, with Israel blaming militant group Hamas for the triple killings and vowing to hit the Islamist movement hard.
Early yesterday, the police received a call about a suspected kidnapping in Beit Hanina, a well-heeled Arab neighbourhood of East Jerusalem, prompting a widespread search operation, police spokesman Luba Samri said.
"In the early hours of Wednesday morning, the police received a report of a person being forced into a car in Beit Hanina," she said.
"Within an hour, a body was found in Jerusalem that has still not been identified. We are looking to see if there is a connection between the two incidents."
Palestinian media outlets named the victim as 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khder from Shuafat.
Quoting witnesses, army radio said the youth was seen being forced into a black Honda Civic, which had been seen in the area the night before.
A cousin of the missing youth, who gave his name only as Mahmud, said locals had given chase, but were unable to stop the car.
Residents had filed a police complaint in recent days that someone in the same car had tried unsuccessfully to snatch a seven-year-old child.