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Report: Murdered Arab Teen 'Was Burned Alive'

PA Attorney General claims Mohammed Abu-Khder was still alive when he was set on fire; victim's cousin arrested for attacking police.
By AFP and Arutz Sheva Staff
First Publish: 7/5/2014, 9:20 PM

Arab rioters in Jerusalem
Arab rioters in Jerusalem
Flash 90

An Arab teenager whose abduction and murder triggered violent protests was burned alive, autopsy reports show, as clashes over the killing spread Saturday from Jerusalem to Arab Israeli towns.  

Mohammed Abu Khder, 16, was abducted from his Shuafat neighborhood in Jerusalem early Wednesday, and his charred body found not long afterwards in a the Jerusalem Forest.

Palestinians have blamed Jewish extremists for killing him in revenge for the kidnapping and murder in last month of three Israeli teenagers.  

Palestinian news agency Maan quoted Palestinian Authority Attorney General Mohammed Aluweiwi on Saturday as saying the initial findings of a post-mortem indicated the presence of smoke in the boy's lungs, meaning he was still alive while being burned.

Abu Khder also suffered a head wound, but that was not the cause of death, Aluweiwi added.

Israeli police said they still could not confirm the motive for Abu Khder's murder.

A spokeswoman told AFP police were investigating "all possibilities", and that there was a gag order on all details of the investigation.  

The teenager's funeral on Friday, attended by thousands of mourners, was accompanied by clashes in various Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem, the third straight day of violence since his body was found.

Disturbances that had spread to the Arab towns of Taibe in northeastern Israel and Jaljulia and Qalansuwa in the center broke out again on Saturday, spreading to Umm el-Fahm, Arara and Nazareth as well, police said.

Murdered teen's cousin arrested

The road between Taibe and Tira remained closed on Saturday, while the route by Qalansuwa was reopened after being closed for several hours.  

Police said one officer was injured by a stone near Arara, and noted that 24 Arab Israeli suspects have been arrested in the recent clashes.

One of those arrested in the east Jerusalem clashes was Tariq Abu Khder, the 15-year-old cousin of the murdered Palestinian Arab youth and an American citizen currently on holiday.

Speaking to AFP Saturday, his parents said Tariq was arrested in Shuafat after being beaten by police on Thursday.

A video circulated on social media shows what appears to be Israeli border police beating and kicking a handcuffed semi-conscious figure before dragging him away.  

The parents, who saw their son in an Israeli hospital, said they were told Tariq had been arrested for being masked.

Police spokeswoman Luba Samri could not confirm it was Tariq in the video, but said the footage was from the arrest of a group of six Arab rioters, of whom Tariq was one.

Samri said police found a sling on Tariq, who attacked police and resisted arrest, while others were stoning police officers and throwing Molotov cocktails at them.

Samri said six police were wounded during that arrest operation.

Abu Khder will appear before a Jerusalem court on Sunday, his parents said.

Rocket attacks, air raids

Meanwhile, terrorists fired more rockets and mortar rounds at Israel  from Gaza Saturday amid Egyptian efforts to broker a renewed truce between Israel and Islamist terror group Hamas following a flare-up of cross-border violence.

The army said 15 rockets and mortar rounds were fired at southern Israel on Saturday, and one soldier was lightly wounded by mortar fire.

One rocket approaching Be'ersheva was shot down by the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system, while another struck an open area near the city.

Israeli warplanes attacked three sites in southern Gaza, sources on both sides said.

Authorities inside the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave said the air raids targeted training camps of Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas's military wing, in Rafah and Khan Younis, as well as an empty field in Khan Yunis.

No injuries were reported.

There has been a surge in terrorist rocket fire - which has provoked retaliatory Israeli air raids - since the kidnapping and murder of the three Israeli teenagers and the IDF's accompanying crackdown on Hamas in Judea and Samaria. Israeli officials have named two Hamas members as prime suspects in the murders, and a third possible suspect identified Friday is also a member of Hamas.

Hamas sources told AFP they were not interested in escalation, but said attacks on Israel from Gaza were in response to Israeli "aggression" in Gaza, Jerusalem and the Judea and Samaria.

According to the sources, there has been no real communication between Hamas and the Egyptians trying to mediate a truce since Friday.