Jerusalem Burning

Jerusalem Burning

Hundreds of Palestinian protesters have been rampaging through the streets of the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Shu’afat since early morning Wednesday following news that the burned body of 16 year Palestinian teenager Muhhamad Abu Khdeir had been found in the popular and heavily visited Jerusalem Forest.

In addition to firebombing three light rail stations, the rioters burned tires, lobbed Molotov cocktails and pipe bombs, and hurled bricks, glass, stones, and pipe bombs at police and security forces. Police responded with stun grenades to disperse the mobs. They closed off the area to prevent other rioters from escalating the violence. 

Police are investigating the murder as possible retribution for the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens on June 12. They were also quick to announce that it was much too early in the investigation to reach any conclusions. Later in the morning, reports began circulating that investigators were now focusing on the possibility that the boy may, in fact, have been murdered by members of his own family as part of an “honor killing,” completely unrelated to the widely reported Israeli teen kidnappings and murders.

The Ma’an Palestinian news agency claims more than 50 people have been injured in street battles with police, and nearly 40 hit with rubber bullets.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decried the murder as “an abominable act” and demanded an immediate and full investigation. He called another security cabinet meeting–the third in three days–to be held at Ministry of Defense headquarters on 19:00 Wednesday night Israel time. The purpose is to continue discussion and debate of appropriate and available responses to the abduction and murder of the three Israeli teenagers buried Tuesday. 

Meanwhile, Israeli authorities lifted the gag order on the full 911 recording made by one of the boys shortly after being kidnapped. At just over two minutes long, the sound of loud Hebrew language radio interview is interrupted by a different operator than the one who initially answered the call. She does not receive an answer when she asks where the caller is. Loud noises, presumed to have been gunshots, quickly follow. A kidnapper then proudly shouts in Arabic, “Three!” As the recording ends, two voices are heard rejoicing and singing in Arabic.

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