Middle East

Wednesday 30 July 2014

Six suspects arrested in connection with Palestinian teen's killing

Published 05/07/2014|21:30

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Palestinians carry the body of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir in Jerusalem on Friday, July 4, 2014
Palestinians carry the body of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir in Jerusalem on Friday, July 4, 2014

Israel has arrested suspects in the death of a Palestinian teenager, it has been reported today.

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A security source has indicated that Jewish assailants were responsible for the abduction and killing.

The reports said six suspects were in custody.

A security source said investigators believe Mohammed Abu Khudair, 16, was killed out of "nationalist motives", a term indicating they suspect that Jews were involved.

The discovery of his burnt body in a Jerusalem forest on Wednesday came a day after the burial of three Jewish teens whose abduction in the occupied West Bank on June 12 and deaths Israel blames on the Hamas Islamist group.

Initial autopsy findings from the body of a Palestinian teenager killed in East Jerusalem have indicated that he was "burnt alive".

The circumstances surrounding the death of Mohammad Abu Khdair, 16, are still unclear, but Palestinian speculation has focused on the possibility that he was kidnapped and killed by far-right Jews.

The death followed the abduction and murder of three young Israelis and rising tensions in the region. The three Israeli teens were kidnapped on June 12 and later found dead in the occupied West Bank.

Palestinian Mohammed Abu Khudair was kidnapped in his neighbourhood in Arab East Jerusalem. His charred body was found hours later in a forest on the edge of the city.

"The direct cause of death was burns as a result of fire and it's complications,"  Palestinian attorney-general, Mohammed Al-A'wewy, was quoted as saying.

The boy, who also reportedly suffered a head injury, had burns to 90% of his body. The findings have not yet been officially released.

The motivation for and details of the killing are as yet unclear but Palestinians, including the boy's family, believe he was killed in revenge for the murders of the three Israeli teenagers.

The bodies of Naftali Frenkel and Gilad Shaar, both aged 16, and 19-year-old Eyal Yifrach were found on 30 June. Their funerals were held on Wednesday amid rising tensions in the region.

Mohammad Abu Khdair's funeral was held on Friday near the family's home in the Shufat district of East Jerusalem. Thousands attended the ceremony, which saw clashes between youths and Israeli police in East Jerusalem.

Palestinians chanted "Intifada! Intifada", calling for a new uprising against Israel. Stones thrown at Israeli police were met by teargas, stun grenades and rubber bullets in one of the most highly charged displays of enmity in Jerusalem in years.

A Palestinian throws a stone during clashes with Israeli police after prayers on the first Friday of the holy month of Ramadan A Palestinian throws a stone during clashes with Israeli police after prayers on the first Friday of the holy month of Ramadan 

Clashes continued across the occupied West Bank overnight with at least one Palestinian hurt in the city of Nablus, medical staff said. Clashes also erupted in Israeli-Arab towns, a police spokeswoman said.

Palestinian officials trying to calm tensions have said they would prevent any intifada, or uprising, and seek a solution to the crisis that began when the three Israeli teens were kidnapped.

Israeli authorities said they did not yet know whether Abu Khudair was the victim of a hate crime.

Independent News Service

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