Amid calls for a third intifada, thousands of Palestinians gathered in east Jerusalem on Friday during a violent and highly charged funeral procession for murdered teen Muhammad Abu Khdeir who, according to an autopsy report released Saturday, was burned alive.
Draped in a Palestinian flag, Abu Khdeir’s 16-year-old body was carried through his neighborhood of Shuafat under a sweltering sun to a local cemetery, as firecrackers, gunshots, and calls for vengeance pierced the air.
“With our blood and our spirit we shall sacrifice for the martyr!” chanted mourners, as they waved Palestinian flags during the procession.
Stones thrown at police by masked Palestinian youths were met by tear gas and stun grenades.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas says Abu Khdeir was the victim of Jewish extremists incensed at the discovery last week of the remains of Gil-Ad Shaer, 16, Eyal Yifrah, 19, and Naftali Fraenkel, 16, all of whom were buried Tuesday.
The three yeshiva students were abducted while hitchhiking home from Gush Etzion on June 12. After a nationwide manhunt, their bullet- ridden bodies were found near Hebron.
The two suspected Hamas-affiliated killers have yet to be apprehended.
During Abu Khdeir’s burial his mother, Suha, said she prayed his death would bring “victory to Palestine,” Arab media reported. “May God burn the criminals who burned my son,” she added.
Following the funeral, which coincided with the first Friday prayers of Ramadan, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said violence resumed in the evening, resulting in 13 wounded officers, six of whom were treated for light wounds at a local hospitial He said more than 20 arrests were made during the riot.
According to news reports, at least 15 demonstrators were treated for wounds.
Despite the volatility surrounding Friday prayers on the Temple Mount, Rosenfeld said there were no serious incidents outside al-Aksa Mosque, which was heavily patrolled by police as thousands of Muslims gathered there.
Since Abu Khdeir’s murder on Wednesday, Shuafat residents have demanded vengeance against suspected Israeli killers. The Palestinian boy’s badly burned body was found by police in the Jerusalem Forest shortly after residents of nearby Beit Hanina reported seeing a young man being forced into a gray vehicle early Wednesday morning.
According to the autopsy report, compiled by Israeli doctors and a Palestinian coroner, more than 90 percent of Abu Khdeir’s body sustained burns. The teen also suffered a head wound, the report determined.
PA Attorney-General Dr.
Muhammad Abed al-Ghani al-Aweiwi, said fire-dust residue was found in Abu Khdeir’s respiratory canal, which indicated “the boy had inhaled this material while he was burnt alive.”
More tissue samples have been taken for lab examinations to complete the legal medical report, Aweiwi said.
Following the murder, the Palestinian Authority called on the Israeli government to take immediate measures “against the racist and murderous actions carried out by settler gangs.”
“We condemn this crime and call for international protection for our people, and not to leave them at the mercy of the settlers, who are protected by the occupation army,” the PA leadership said in a statement.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who has repeatedly beseeched the public to exercise restraint during the investigation, promptly condemned Abu Khdeir’s killing as “reprehensible” and “loathsome.”
“Israel is a nation of laws and everyone must act according to the law,” the prime minister said.
Despite an intensive investigation, Rosenfeld said the police has yet to determine whether the murder was nationalistically motivated or criminal.
“We’re trying to understand and find out exactly what took place, and what the background was,” Rosenfeld said. “It’s critical, as far as the Israel Police is concerned, for us to determine what the motive was and bring the suspects to justice.”Reuters contributed to the report.
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