The body of an abducted Palestinian youth was found in Jerusalem on Wednesday, raising suspicions he had been killed by Israelis avenging the deaths of three abducted Jewish teens.
News of the discovery of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khudair, who was last seen being bundled into a van earlier in the day, triggered clashes between rock-throwing Palestinians and Israeli police in the city.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accused Jewish settlers of killing Abu Khudair and demanded that Israel “mete out the strongest punishment against the murderers if it truly wants peace”.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged police “to swiftly investigate who was behind the loathsome murder and its motive”. He called on all sides “not to take the law into their own hands”.
Police said they had found a body in the wooded outskirts of Jerusalem. Abu Khudair’s father told Reuters the force had told him the body was his son.
An Israeli security source said Israel suspected the youth had been kidnapped and murdered, possibly in retribution for the killings of the Israeli teens. Their bodies were discovered on Monday, nearly three weeks after they were abducted in the occupied West Bank.
Israel says Palestinian Hamas militants killed them. The Islamist group has neither confirmed nor denied the allegation.
The White House condemned the killing of Abu Khudair and called on Israel and the Palestinian Authority to “take all necessary steps to prevent an atmosphere of revenge and retribution.”
Netanyahu convened his security cabinet later on Wednesday as violence also flared up across the Israel-Gaza border, with Palestinians firing at least a dozen rockets and mortars, and Israel’s military carrying out an air strike… see more