Thousands of people have gathered in occupied East Jerusalem for the emotionally charged funeral of a Palestinian teenager killed in an apparent revenge attack for the abduction and murder of three Israeli settlers last month.
The funeral procession carrying the body of Mohammed Abu Khdair, 17, on Friday afternoon moved through the suburb of Shuafat to the cemetery, close to where the young man was abducted two days earlier as he walked from his home to a nearby mosque to pray.
During the funeral march, the mourners ran into a row of Israeli troops blocking the road to central Jerusalem. Thousands of Israeli police had flooded the streets of occupied East Jerusalem and fired tear gas at the mourners.
Israeli police said they used “riot control means” on stone-throwing Palestinians.
“Dozens of Palestinian youngsters, some masked, threw stones at police in Ras al-Amud,” Israeli police said on Twitter, referring to an area of East Jerusalem.
“The police drove them off with riot control means,” a term usually referring to tear gas or stun grenades.
The Abu Khdair family was unable to wash the teenager’s charred remains before burial, as per Islamic custom, nor were they able to bury him on the day of his death.
After two days of forensic tests and a post-mortem examination, Israeli police had told Abu Khdair’s father to collect the body on Friday afternoon.
Police say they still have not identified the killers, or their motive.
“Regardless of the motive, this murder is reprehensible, and we will bring those responsible to justice,” Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, said on Thursday night.
Channel 10 reported on Thursday night that the car used to abduct Abu Khdair was the same one used in an attempted kidnapping of another Palestinian child, a day earlier.
The bodies of the three Jewish settlers – Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaer and Naftali Frenkel – were found in a valley outside Hebron on Monday.
Tens of thousands of people attended their funeral in Modi’in on Tuesday. Calls for revenge have circulated widely on social media, and on Thursday four soldiers were jailed for incitement over their posts.
This is also the first Friday of Ramadan, when tens of thousands of Palestinians gather to pray at al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. Israel has barred access to most men, allowing only those over the age of fifty to enter.
A police spokesman said hundreds of extra officers have been sent to the old city and Palestinian areas of East Jerusalem in anticipation of clashes.
Separately, the Israeli army sent reinforcements to the border with the Gaza Strip on Thursday, amid intensifying rocket fire on southern Israel. The deployment came after 11 Palestinians were wounded in Israeli air raids on Gaza.
Netanyahu said that the reinforcements were “preparing for the possibility” of “act forcefully”.
Local media reported on Friday that Israel had given Hamas a 48-hour ultimatum to stop the rocket fire. Al Jazeera