Israel police said they were investigating reports of a kidnapping of an Arab youth and confirmed finding a body, but have refused to say whether the two incidents were connected.
"In the early hours of Wednesday morning, police received a report of a person being forced into a car in Beit Hanina," police spokeswoman Luba Samri told AFP, referring to a well-heeled east Jerusalem neighbourhood.
"Within an hour, a body was found in Jerusalem that has still not been identified. We are looking to see if there is a connection between the two incidents."
After a flurry of intial reports that said the murder was a Jewish revenge killing, a police spokesman urged newsmen to be cautious: "The circumstances of the event have not yet been established. All directions of investigation are being looked into. Please exhibit responsibility and wait for official results and announcements by the Jerusalem District Spokesman."
'Forced into a black car'
Quoting eye witnesses, IDF Radio said a black car had stopped by a youth who was hitchhiking and he was forced inside. The car then took off. Some time later, the family of the youth, who is understood to be around 16, reported him missing, it said.
The burnt body of an Arab youth was later found in the Jerusalem Forest area. There is speculation that the youth is the same one who went missing in Beit Hanina and who was seen being forced into a car, and that he was murdered by Jews as a possible act of revenge after the kidnapping murder of three Jewish teens. However, there are also reports that the abduction was carried out by Arabs and that the murder was an "honor killing" or another kind of criminal murder.
Large police forces are combing the area where the body was discovered and hundreds of Arabs from Shuafat are currently rioting. The road between Beit Hanina and Pisgat Ze'ev has been blocked to traffic. In addition, operation of the Light Rail to Beit Hanina and Shuafat has been suspended, due to concern that rioting Arabs may attack the railway and its passengers. Passengers waiting at Pisgat Ze'ev have been asked to use buses instead, and listen to instructions from representatives of the Ministry of Transport and the Egged bus company.
The Arab rioting in Shuafat spread to the Temple Mount on Wednesday, where masked Arab rioters threw rocks on police. This led to the decision to close the Mount to visitors. The entrance into Jerusalem from Highway 443 at the Ben Tzion Interchange was also closed off.
Three Light Rail stations were destroyed by rioters. Arab rioters were also reportedly targeting Jewish homes and cars in Pisgat Ze'ev.
Later, it was reported that Arab rioters hurled three pipe bombs at police forces. Only one of these appears to have exploded, and police sappers are neutralizing those that did not. No police were reported hurt by the bombs, although a man was hospitalized from the blast.
“A grave and barbaric act”
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, apparently convinced that this was indeed a revenge murder by Jews, called the murder of the youth “a grave and barbaric act” and said that he “forcefully” condemns it. “This is not our way of doing things and I trust the security fiorces to bring the guilty to trial. I call on everyone to act with restraint, to put all kinds of violence beyond the pale and to take action to calm the spirits.”
Hundreds of Jews marched through the streets of Jerusalem Tuesday in anger following the discovery of the bodies of Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Sha'ar and Naftali Frenkel, the teens who were abducted and murdered by Arab terrorists on June 12. Police arrested 48 suspects over alleged violence against Arabs and vandalism. Some of the protesters chanted "death to the Arabs!" and "revenge!"
Roughly 200 people protested at the entrance to Jerusalem over the murders, blocking traffic near the capital's iconic Chords Bridge, close to the Central Bus Station.
The protest began peacefully - if noisily - as demonstrators chanted nationalist slogans and handed out stickers reading "Government of Israel: enough talking, we demand revenge!" Activists also called on Israel to apply the death penalty for terrorist murderers.
But then violence erupted, as several Arab passersby attempted to taunt the crowd and were subsequently attacked by angry demonstrators. Scuffles between demonstrators, police and Arabs spread to the Machaneh Yehuda Market.
Arabs extremists also rioted in various places and threw rocks at Jewish targets.