Riots spread across Israel after claim Palestinian boy 'burnt alive'
Mohammed Abu Khdeir, the Palestinian teenager who was kidnapped and murdered last Wednesday in a suspected revenge killing by Israeli extremists, was reportedly burned alive after suffering a head injury.
The claim, made by the Palestinian attorney-general, is said to be based on initial post-mortem findings which discovered soot deposits in his lungs, suggesting he was still breathing when he was set on fire. The shocking details, if confirmed, would seem likely to exacerbate already toxic tensions.
The reports emerged as Egypt brokered efforts to conclude a ceasefire deal between Hamas in Gaza and Israel that appeared not to have taken hold, with fresh reports of rocket fire from the coastal strip.
The murder of 17-year-old Khdeir, who was buried last Friday in a highly-charged funeral after his abduction outside a mosque next to his home in the early hours of Wednesday morning, has prompted days of serious rioting in Palestinian neighbourhoods of East Jerusalem, which then spread to Israeli-Arab towns in the “triangle”.
“The direct cause of death was burns as a result of fire and its complications,” Attorney-general Mohammed al-A’wewy told Palestinian official news agency Wafa. Israeli officials have yet to release their findings from the post mortem on the body.
Tensions have risen after three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped on June 12 and later found dead in the occupied West Bank.
That has been followed by a rash of racist incitement on Israeli social media sites, street attacks and Khdeir’s murder, a suspected revenge attack.
Saber al-Aloul, Director of the Palestinian Forensic Institute, attended the post mortem carried out by Israeli doctors in Tel Aviv. A’wewy said Aloul had reported that fire-dust material had been found in Khdeir’s respiratory canal, which meant “the boy had inhaled this material while he was burned alive”. Burns covered 90pc of his body.
The discovery of the boy’s remains in a forest on the outskirts of Jerusalem has prompted the worst riots in the holy city in recent memory.
The violence spread to northern Arab towns yesterday morning, an Israeli police spokeswoman, Luba Samri, said. Protesters there threw stones at passing cars, burned tires and hurled fire
bombs at police, who responded with tear gas and stun grenades.
At Khdeir’s funeral, furious Palestinians chanted “Intifada! Intifada!”, calling for a new uprising against Israel. They clashed with Israeli police in one of the most highly-charged displays of enmity in Jerusalem in years.
Clashes continued across the occupied West Bank throughout the night. 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 teenagers were kidnapped.
In a separate incident, it emerged that Abu Khdeir’s 15-year-old cousin, Tariq, a US citizen who goes to school in Florida, was beaten by police during clashes on Thursday ahead of the funeral. His parents said Tariq was detained but had been treated at an Israeli hospital.
Samri said Tariq had resisted arrest and attacked police. He was detained with a slingshot in his possession, along with six other protesters, including some armed with knives, she said. Tariq’s father said he witnessed his son’s arrest and insisted that the boy was not involved in the violence.