Palestinian teen murder sparks rioting as tensions soar

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Violence flared in Jerusalem as angry Palestinian youths clashed with Israeli police following the kidnap and murder of a Palestinian teen in an apparent revenge attack, prompting international calls for calm.

Hundreds of masked Palestinians Wednesday hurled stones at Israeli riot police, who responded by firing rubber bullets, tear gas and sound bombs. Clashes continued into the night.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the “despicable” killing of the 16-year-old Palestinian boy, whose death came after three Israeli teenagers were killed in the West Bank.

Netanyahu urged both sides “not to take the law into their own hands.”

And the family of one of the slain Israeli teens, still in mourning, said any revenge murder was a “horrendous act.”

The clashes in the slain teen’s Shuafat neighbourhood have left at least 65 people wounded, three by live bullets, while some 35 people were injured by rubber bullets, including six journalists, according to the Red Crescent.

Palestinians held Israel responsible, demanding Netanyahu’s government act to prevent revenge attacks.

“I demand the Israeli government punish the killers if it wants peace between the Palestinian and the Israeli peoples,” said Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.

US Secretary of State John Kerry warned that acts of vengeance would worsen an explosive situation.

“At this tense and dangerous moment, all parties must do everything in their power to protect the innocent and act with reasonableness and restraint, not recrimination and retribution,” he said.

Eyewitnesses told AFP the Palestinian youth, Mohammed Abu Khder, was seen being forced into a car by three Israelis in occupied east Jerusalem.

Police confirmed a body had been found in a forest in Givat Shaul in west Jerusalem, although they refused to link the two incidents.

But DNA tests proved the body was that of the missing teenager, his father said.