Israel PM slams ‘despicable’ murder of Palestinian teen
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the “despicable murder” of a Palestinian teenager hours after he was kidnapped from a neighbourhood in annexed east Jerusalem.
“Prime Minister Netanyahu asked the investigating authorities to work as quickly as possible to find out who was behind the despicable murder of the youth, and what is the background of the incident,” a statement from his office said.
The prime minister urged all sides not to take the law into their own hands, it said, as fears grew the killing was an act of revenge for the murder by Palestinian militants of three Israeli teenagers.
The killing sparked a wave of clashes in east Jerusalem where around 200 angry young Palestinians threw stones at police, who responded with sound bombs and rubber bullets, an AFP correspondent and police said.
Quoting witnesses, the radio said the youth was seen being forced into a car in the Arab eastern half of the city.
A body was found shortly afterwards in another part of the city, the radio said, describing it as a “suspected revenge attack” for the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers from the southern West Bank on June 12.
Israel has blamed Hamas for their murders in an incident which has shocked the nation and triggered calls for revenge.
Several hours after they were buried on Tuesday, around 200 Israelis rampaged through Jerusalem, stopping cars and the light rail and shouting “Death to Arabs,” police and witnesses said. Police said 47 people were arrested.
Police spokeswoman Luba Samri confirmed they were investigating reports of a kidnapping and said they had found a body but refused to say whether the two incidents were connected. She did not give details on the victim’s identity.
“In the early hours of Wednesday morning, police received a report of a person being forced into a car in Beit Hanina,” Samri told AFP, referring to a well-heeled east Jerusalem neighbourhood.
“Within an hour, a body was found in Jerusalem that has still not been identified. We are looking to see if there is a connection between the two incidents.”
Quoting witnesses, army radio said a black car had stopped next to a youth who was hitchhiking and he was forced inside. The car then took off.
Some time later, the family of the youth, who is understood to be around 16, reported him missing, it said.
The body was discovered in a forest in Givat Shaul in southwest Jerusalem. An AFP correspondent said police had sealed off a large area around the neighbourhood.