Israeli police prevented dozens of Palestinian rioters from breaking through a gate into Jerusalem’s Temple Mount compound in violence connected to the slaying of a Palestinian youth.
The attempt to break into the compound through the Old City Chain Gate was one of a number of violent clashes on Friday between police and Palestinians expressing outrage over the murder of a Palestinian boy earlier this week, Army Radio reported.
The 16-year-old boy, Muhammed Abu Khieder, was abducted from his eastern Jerusalem neighborhood in what police suspect may have been a reprisal by Jewish extremists for the June 12 abduction and murders of three Israeli youths in the West Bank. Abu Kheider’s burnt body was found outside Jerusalem.
His funeral is scheduled for Friday. Police are looking into his death and upped security in Jerusalem in anticipation of riots before and after the funeral.
In addition to the Chain Gate incident, clashes occurred also near Ma’aleh Hazeitim, a Jewish neighborhood bordering on the Arab neighborhood of Ras al-Amud. A large riot involving hundreds of Arabs happened at Wadi al-Joz, another Arab neighborhood of east Jerusalem.
Additional incidents happened near Ramallah, where Palestinians hurled firebombs and stones at Israeli troops in three locations. Eight Palestinians were wounded when the Israeli soldiers fired back at the rioters, Haaretz reported.
The clashes occurred amid reports that Hamas and Israel were nearing an understanding that would end the exchange of fire between Gaza, where militants fired dozens of rockets at Israel over the past week, and Israel, which retaliated with aerial strikes on Hamas targets in the Strip.
But during a tour of Sderot, an Israeli city that is regularly targeted with rockets by Hamas and other Palestinian groups, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said that declaring a ceasefire would be “a serious mistake, ”according to Army Radio.
“We do not accept the approach of appeasing Hamas,” he said. “We do not accept a situation where Hamas dictates the sequence of events — they decide when to escalate, when to deescalate, controlling the flames, initiating when we only react.”