Tensions in Jerusalem: Israeli troops reach Gaza

Tensions in Jerusalem: Israeli troops reach Gaza
Tensions soared in Arab-dominated areas of east Jerusalem on Thursday following the death of a young Arab boy in a suspected ‘revenge’ attack by rightwing extremists as Israel moved troops to its border with Gaza Strip amid heavy rocket, mortar attacks by Hamas militants. East Jerusalem, where an overwhelming Arab majority resides, remained tensed a day after clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinian demonstrators occurred following the discovery of the body of the 16-year-old boy, bearing signs of violence.

The incident appeared to be a revenge attack by rightwing Israeli extremists to avenge the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers in West Bank earlier this week.
However, police have not yet ascertained whether the killing was ‘nationalistic or criminally motivated’. The deceased Arab boy’s family has accused the Israeli authorities of holding the body unnecessarily. The police deny the charges. His father has said he had been told an autopsy was being conducted. More clashes are feared after the funeral.

Protesters threw stones at officers, who responded by firing sound bombs, tear gas and rubber bullets. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the murder as ‘despicable’ and said he had ordered police to work ‘as quickly as possible to find out who was behind the heinous murder of the youth’. He called on both sides ‘not to take the law into their own hands’. Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas has accused Jewish settlers in the West Bank of killing the boy and called for ‘strongest punishment against the murderers.’

The family of one of the three murdered Israeli teenagers also issued a statement condemning the killing of the boy. ‘If the Arab youth was murdered because of nationalistic motives, then this is a horrible and horrendous act,’ said a statement from the family of one of the three killed teenagers.
The bodies of the three Jewish seminary students were found near the city of Hebron on Monday, two-and-a-half weeks after they were abducted.

Meanwhile, Israel retaliated to overnight rocket attacks from Gaza with 15 air strikes on the coastal strip mainly targeting suspected warehouses of arsenals. Nine of the overnight rockets fired from Gaza hit Israeli territory, one of them striking a residential building in Sderot, while two others were intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile system above the Netivot of southern Israel.
Another rocket fired in the morning hit another house in Sderot, causing damage but no casualties.
Ten Palestinians were reportedly injured in Israeli air strikes. ‘The Israeli Air Force attacked 15 terror sites in Gaza early Thursday morning,’ an Israel Defence Forces (IDF) official said.


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