Israeli police clashed with Palestinian protesters in occupied Jerusalem Friday as thousands of people converged on a cemetery for the burial of a Palestinian teenager, who Palestinians say was killed by Israeli extremists in a suspected revenge attack.
Palestinian militants fired at least six rockets and mortar shells toward Israel, but that was a sharp decline from recent weeks and no retaliatory Israeli airstrikes were reported a day after the Israeli military rushed additional forces to its southern border with the Gaza Strip because of intensifying barrages.
An ambulance carried the body of 16-year-old Mohammad Abu Khdeir, wrapped in a Palestinian flag and traditional headscarf, to a mosque in the neighborhood where he lived, then mourners carried the open casket through the crowd to a cemetery.
During the procession, masked Palestinians threw rocks at Israeli police officers on duty nearby who responded with stun grenades, spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. He said that more than 2,000 people attended the funeral.
Police had beefed up security in and around Jerusalem as the funeral coincided with the first Friday prayer services of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, and no casualties were immediately reported from the clashes or other unrest in the area.
Meanwhile, Iran’s foreign ministry spokeswoman slammed the Israeli aggressions in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and called on the international bodies, including the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), to react to Israeli crimes.
Marziyeh Afkham on Thursday rapped the continuation of Israeli attacks against Palestinians and called on international bodies, especially the organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), to take effective measures to stop the occupying regime’s atrocities.
Tens of thousands of worshipers were expected to head for the Al-Aqsa mosque complex for the main weekly prayers on the first Friday of Ramadan.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP that following a late-night situation assessment, police commanders decided to limit access by men to the complex to those over 50 years of age. There were no restrictions on women, he said.
After the prayers, Abu Khudair's funeral was to be held in Shuafat, a day later than originally planned after his body was held so that pathologists could complete a post-mortem.
Many believe he was killed in revenge for the abduction and murder in the occupied West Bank last month of three Israeli teenagers whose bodies were found on Monday.
Hours after the three Israelis’ televised funerals on Tuesday, Abu Khudair was abducted in Jerusalem. His charred body was found in a forest on Wednesday.
Israeli police claims the motive for Abu Khudair's killing is still unclear, and have not said how he died.
Abu Khudair's family and other Palestinians, including President Mahmoud Abbas, said he was the victim of a Zionist vendetta and that Netanyahu's right-wing government bore responsibility. Netanyahu called the killing "loathsome" and ordered a swift police investigation to find the culprits.
But with Israeli authorities saying they did not yet know whether Abu Khudair was indeed the victim of a hate crime, angered Palestinian protesters clashed with police in Jerusalem's sweltering summer heat on Wednesday and Thursday.
In Shuafat and other parts of east Jerusalem, Israeli police clashed with Palestinians for a second straight day on Thursday.
Israel called on Hamas on Thursday to put a stop to rocket fire from its Gaza power base and sent army reinforcements to its Gaza border.
But it also offered to de-escalate if the Palestinian movement would do the same.
Palestinian boy goes missing
A Palestinian child went missing in East Jerusalem early Friday, a local news site reported.
A 13-year-old boy was last spotted walking near a mosque in the neighborhood of Wadi al-Joz around dawn, according to Wafa news agency.
Witnesses told the agency that they saw a settler car driving in the area around the same time the boy went missing.
Israeli police were reviewing CCTV footage from cameras set up in the area to determine if the boy was kidnapped, the report added.
In a separate incident, a group of settlers Thursday night was reported to have tried to kidnap a seven-year-old Palestinian boy from his Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina.
Ma'an News Agency reported that family members of Mohammed al-Kiswani chased off four settlers who attempted to snatch the boy as he played outside after breaking Ramadan fast.
Israeli air raids injure 11 in Gaza
Eleven Palestinians were wounded Thursday when Israel pounded targets in the Gaza Strip with air raids.
There was no immediate sign of a return to the clashes which had engulfed east Jerusalem on Wednesday, following the kidnap and murder of a Palestinian teenager by suspected Israeli settlers.
"Eleven people were wounded during the night, including one who is in serious condition," a spokesman for the Gaza health authority said, indicating seven were hurt in Beit Lahiya in the north and four in Gaza City.
The pre-dawn raids came after nearly a dozen rockets struck southern Occupied Palestine, two of which were intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile system, the army said.
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