Palestinians claim dead teenager found in forest was killed by Israelis in 'eye for an eye' attack

PM Benjamin Netanyahu is struggling to control the frenzied reaction to the murder of three Israeli hitch-hikers. Ben Lynfield reports on an ugly mood that has turned bloody

Jerusalem

The conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians was thrown into a new crisis today after Israeli police discovered the body of a teenager in a Jerusalem forest. Palestinians say he fell victim to Israelis avenging the deaths of three abducted Jewish youths.

Palestinians identified the victim as 17-year old Mohammed Abu Khdeir and said he had been forced into a car by Israelis around 3:45am before he was to head to prayers at a mosque near his home in the Shuafat neighbourhood of occupied East Jerusalem. Israeli police said they believed the corpse found in the forest belonged to Abu Khdeir, whose family had reported the abduction to police. “We are investigating and our main focus is to find out if this was criminal or nationalistically motivated,” said the police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.

Palestinians had no such doubts however, and news of the killing fuelled rage and intense clashes with police outside the Abu Khdeir home and in Beit Hanina, a nearby neighbourhood. Coming a day after anti-Arab rioting in Jewish West Jerusalem following the funerals of the three Jewish teenagers, the clashes raised the level of tension in Jerusalem to their highest level in years and threatened to fuel confrontations in the occupied West Bank, where at least seven people were wounded during Israeli army operations.

At the family home, against the backdrop of sound bombs, Ansam Abu Khdeir, first cousin of Mohammed, said: “There is not one day they are not killing us and we’re not supposed to complain.”

She described Mohammed as “a sweetheart, kind, not a troublesome kid. He’s so funny, he has a good sense of humour. We just didn’t expect it to happen, in Shuafat, in Jerusalem”.

Mohammed’s father, Hussein, said he and his wife had given DNA samples at the request of police and agreed to an autopsy on condition a Palestinian doctor would participate. Speaking to The Independent, he voiced doubts about whether the Israeli police would find the criminals. “I told the police, ‘You will not catch them because the man who was killed is an Arab. If the man killed was Jewish, you would catch the people who killed him.’”

He said police had told him that camera footage from the neighbourhood was “not enough”. However, the family’s lawyer, Mohammed al-Mashni, said he believed police were conducting a thorough investigation.

Elsewhere, more than 40 people were arrested in the anti-Arab riots on Monday night, which were punctuated by chants of “Death to the Arabs”.

The mother of Mohammed Abu Khdeir shows a picture of her son (Reuters) The mother of Mohammed Abu Khdeir shows a picture of her son (Reuters)

“The tensions and attacks are all over the places where Arab Jerusalemites meet Israelis,’’ said Menachem Klein, a political scientist at Bar-Ilan University near Tel Aviv. “It’s a very dangerous situation and I hope that police don’t cover up the investigation.”

Abu Khdeir’s funeral is expected to be held today after police return his body to the family. Another point of tension will be Friday prayers at al-Aqsa mosque, Islam’s third holiest site, overlooking the Western wall, Judaism’s holiest locale.

The normally tranquil Shuafat neighbourhood resembled the flashpoints of the two Palestinian uprisings yesterday, as masked youths, some of them bare chested in the blazing heat, burnt tyres and used slingshots to target Israeli security forces. Smoke billowed into the sky and youths took cover behind metal casing. Sound bombs resounded and youths periodically chanted “Allahu Akbar!”, [God is the greatest], before they ran up to hurl their projectiles.


Ambulances evacuated youths who had apparently been hit by rubber-coated metal bullets fired by the security forces.

Mr Rosenfeld, the police spokesman, had no information about the violence in Shuafat, but said that police in neighbouring Beit Hanina had faced stones, petrol bombs and pipe bombs. Youths also attacked the light rail station in Shuafat, a symbol to them of Israeli rule, and shattered parts of it. There were similar attacks on two other stations nearby.

The Palestinian legislator Jihad Abu Zneid, from President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement who was at the scene of the clashes, said: “This is a natural reaction to killing, demolishing houses and attacking children. [The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu is personally responsible for Mohammed’s death.”

Mr Abbas issued a statement calling on Mr Netanyahu to condemn the killing just as he had condemned the abduction of the three Israeli teens in the West Bank on 12 June. He called on the Israeli government to “act immediately and take real steps to stop the aggression of the settlers and the chaos caused as a result of the Israeli aggression”.

Marchers call for an end to the violence and revenge in Jerusalem (Corbis) Marchers call for an end to the violence and revenge in Jerusalem (Corbis)
Mr Netanyahu’s office released a statement saying he had spoken with the Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch and “requested that those conducting the investigation act with the greatest speed possible to investigate who is responsible for this despicable murder”. Mr Netanyahu called on citizens “not to take the law into their hands”.

In the West Bank, Israeli forces arrested 40 people as part of ongoing sweeps against the Hamas movement, which Israel blames for the killings of the Israeli teenagers. To date, the Israeli government has produced no evidence to support its assertion.

Four Palestinians were also wounded by live fire early yesterday during an Israeli raid in Jenin, Reuters reported. In Idna, in the southern West Bank, the army demolished part of a house belonging to a Hamas member accused of killing an off-duty policeman and three Palestinians were reported wounded in clashes that erupted there. Israeli media reports said that four mortars fired from the Gaza Strip landed in southern Israel without causing damage.

The family of Naftali Frankel, one of the three Israeli teens killed, issued a statement yesterday condemning the killing of Mohammed Abu Khdeir. “There is no difference between blood and blood. Murder is murder regardless of age and nationality.”

News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
scienceHad asteroid hit earlier or later in history, the creatures might have survived, say scientists
News
President Obama, one of the more enthusiastic users of the fist bump
scienceBumping fists rather than shaking hands could reduce the spread of infectious diseases, it is claimed
Voices
voices
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebookA powerful collection of reportage on Egypt’s cycle of awakening and relapse
Life and Style
Upright, everything’s all right (to a point): remaining on one’s feet has its health benefits – though in moderation
HealthIf sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Griffin holds forth in The Simpsons Family Guy crossover episode
arts + ents
Sport
Laura Trott with her gold
Commonwealth GamesJust 48 hours earlier cyclist was under the care of a doctor
Arts and Entertainment
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman
arts + entsFilmmaker posted a picture of Israeli actress Gal Gadot on Twitter
News
Bryan had a bracelet given to him by his late father stolen during the raid
people
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Pratt stars in Guardians of the Galaxy
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Pedro Pascal gives a weird look at the camera in the blooper reel
arts + entsPrince Oberyn nearly sets himself on fire with a flaming torch
News
Danny Nickerson, 6, has received 15,000 cards and presents from well-wishers around the world
newsDanny loves to see his name on paper, so his mother put out a request for cards - it went viral
Sport
France striker Loic Remy
sportThe QPR striker flew to Boston earlier in the week to complete deal
News
Orville and Keith Harris. He covered up his condition by getting people to read out scripts to him
People
Arts and Entertainment
Zoe Saldana stars in this summer's big hope Guardians of the Galaxy
filmHollywood's summer blockbusters are no longer money-spinners
Arts and Entertainment
O'Shaughnessy pictured at the Unicorn Theatre in London
tvFiona O'Shaughnessy explains where she ends and her strange and wonderful character begins
Life and Style
Workers in Seattle are paid 100 times as much as workers in Bangladesh
fashionSeattle company lets customers create their own clothes, then click 'buy' and wait for delivery
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

PHP / MySQL Developer (PHP, MySQL, AJAX, JQuery, MVC, HTML, XML

£30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: PHP / MySQL Developer (PHP, MySQL...

C# Back-End Developer (C#, .NET, ASP.NET, SQL, MVC-4, TDD, BDD)

£30000 - £45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: C# Back-End Developer (C#, .NET, ...

Web Developer (C#, HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, JQuery, XML) London

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Web Developer (C#, HTML5, CSS3, J...

C# Software Developer (C#, front-end, Java, JavaScript, VB)

£30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: C# Software Developer (C#, front-...

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried