Anger rises in Jerusalem - Tucson News Now

Anger rises in Jerusalem

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Palestinians throw rocks at Israeli forces from behind barricades in Jerusalem. (Source: CNN) Palestinians throw rocks at Israeli forces from behind barricades in Jerusalem. (Source: CNN)
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JERUSALEM (CNN) – A very tense situation is unfolding in East Jerusalem.

Israeli police have been facing-off with Palestinian protesters for several hours.

The clashes broke out after the funeral for a Palestinian teenager who was killed this week in what many suspect to be a revenge attack.

Police have said they are investigating whether the Palestinian youth's death was an act of retaliation for the killings of three Israeli teens, whose bodies were discovered Monday in a field in the West Bank.

The killings of the Palestinian and Israeli teenagers have ratcheted up tensions in a region where peace talks fell apart earlier this year.

Ahead of the Palestinian boy's funeral, Israeli police significantly stepped up security around Palestinian areas of the city, putting up checkpoints and shutting off access to the Shuafat neighborhood of East Jerusalem where the slain teen, Mohammad Abu Khedair, lived.

Carried in by dozens of people, the 16-year-old's body was brought to a mosque for the funeral.

After the ceremony, his remains were taken by his family for burial in a nearby cemetery.

The sound of sirens and gunfire filled the streets of the Palestinian suburb as fighting again erupted.

About 30 Israeli riot police fired rubber bullets in the direction of Palestinian protesters, with tear gas also being used. Stones were thrown back toward the police by the protesters. One man was seen to be injured.

Well over 1,000 Palestinians gathered for the funeral despite strict Israeli security measures that have limited movement around Jerusalem, including in the Old City.

The funeral coincided with the first Friday prayers held during the Ramadan period when emotions are often heightened.

Violence first broke out after news of Abu Khedair's death on Wednesday, and it also flared overnight in parts of the city and the West Bank.

The Palestinian Red Crescent said 27 Palestinian youths were injured in the overnight unrest. It wasn't immediately clear if any Israelis were hurt.

At least four rockets were fired at Israel on Friday afternoon, two of which were intercepted by Iron Dome missile defense batteries above Ofakim, the Israel Defense Forces said. One landed near Ofakim, and another hit an open area in the Eshkol region, the IDF said.

Netanyahu pledges to find boy's killers

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged Thursday to find the perpetrators responsible for the boy's killing, an act he described as "a despicable crime."

Israeli authorities are still trying to determine who killed Abu Khedair and why, Netanyahu said.

Abu Khedair was heading from his home to a mosque in the middle-class neighborhood of Shuafat for prayers around 4 a.m. on Wednesday when three men forced him into a car and drove off, his father Hussain Abu Khedair, said.

The boy's body was found about an hour later in a forest in West Jerusalem.

Israeli police have said they are looking into the possibility that his death was related to a family dispute as well as the alternative theory that it was a revenge killing.

"The investigation is continuing. We are still looking at the possibility to determine if we are talking about a criminal incident or a nationalistic incident," Israeli police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said.

Arrests follow deaths of Israeli teens

Since the abduction of the Israeli teens - Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Frankel - as they were on their way home from school on June 13, Israel has arrested hundreds of activists from Hamas, the militant Islamic organization it blames for the kidnapping.

Israeli forces have also destroyed the homes of the two main suspects it has identified in the Israeli teenagers' abduction.

WAFA, the Palestinian state news agency, reported on Wednesday that 15 Palestinians have been killed during that time. The figure includes six killed by Israeli troops in the West Bank, three in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza, two dead of heart attacks after West Bank raids, plus the recently slain Palestinian teenager.

Hamas has praised the kidnappings of the Israelis but denied that it was responsible for what happened. It warned that if Netanyahu "brings a war on Gaza, the gates of hell will open to him."

Rockets, airstrikes traded by Israelis and Palestinians

The unrest over the kidnappings has come as Israelis and Palestinians continue to trade blows over longstanding issues. There have been rocket attacks and airstrikes.

The IDF said 40 rockets were launched toward Israel from Gaza on Thursday. One soldier had minor wounds and some homes were damaged, the IDF said.

Israel conducted at least eight airstrikes early Thursday.

Three hit a Hamas intelligence building in Gaza City, while at least one struck a Qassam rocket training camp in Beit Hanoun.

Palestinian medical sources reported at least 10 people injured, one of them seriously.

The IDF said the airstrikes, going after 15 Hamas targets, were in response to the firing of more than 20 rockets into Israel since Wednesday.

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