Israeli police clashed with Palestinian protesters in Jerusalem on Friday as thousands of people converged on a cemetery for the burial of an Arab teenager, who Palestinians say was killed by Israeli extremists in a suspected revenge attack.
JERUSALEM — Israeli police clashed with Palestinian protesters in Jerusalem on Friday as thousands of people converged on a cemetery for the burial of an Arab teenager, who Palestinians say was killed by Israeli extremists in a suspected revenge attack.
Tensions along Israel's southern border remained high, as Palestinian militants fired rockets and mortars from the Gaza Strip into Israel. The Israeli military did not immediately respond, in what appeared to be an attempt to allow an unofficial truce to take hold. But with Israeli troops mobilized along the border, the risk of retaliation remained high as the rocket fire continued toward the evening.
An ambulance carried the body of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir, wrapped in a Palestinian flag and traditional headscarf, to a mosque in the neighborhood where he lived, then mourners carried the open casket through the crowd to a cemetery.
During the procession, masked Palestinians threw rocks at Israeli police officers on duty nearby who responded with stun grenades, spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. He said more than 2,000 people attended the funeral.
Police had beefed up security in and around Jerusalem as the funeral coincided with the first Friday prayer services of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
Rosenfeld said police clashed with hundreds of Palestinians in Ras al-Amud and Wadi Joz in the eastern sector of the city, which has been rocked by violent protests since Abu Khdeir's burned body was found Wednesday in a forest after he was seized near his home in the east Jerusalem of Shuafat.
At least 13 Israeli officers were injured by Palestinian rock throwers, with six evacuated to the hospital for treatment, police spokeswoman Luba Samri said later. Information about possible Palestinian casualties wasn't immediately available.
The Israeli military also said troops opened fire after soldiers on the Gaza border spotted two Palestinians laying explosives near the border fence.
Tensions have been high since three Israeli teenagers were abducted in the West Bank on June 12, sparking a massive manhunt that ended with the discovery of their bodies early this week. Israel has blamed Hamas for the abductions and launched a crackdown on the Islamic militant group in the West Bank, drawing rocket attacks out of Gaza and Israeli airstrikes in a near-daily cycle of retaliation. Hamas, which has kidnapped Israelis in the past, praised the kidnapping of the teens but did not take responsibility for it.
Palestinians have accused Israeli extremists for killing Abu Khdeir, saying it was a revenge attack for the deaths of the three Israeli teens. Israeli police said an investigation was ongoing and the motive has yet to be determined.
Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, an Israeli military spokesman, announced Thursday that reinforcements had been sent to the border with Gaza in a bid to halt a growing wave of rocket fire. But he insisted the move was "defensive."
The killing of the Palestinian boy was widely condemned by Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who has vowed to find the attackers.
"We don't know yet the motives or the identities of the perpetrators, but we will. We will bring to justice the criminals responsible for this despicable crime whoever they may be," Netanyahu said Thursday. "Murder, riots, incitement, vigilantism, they have no place in our democracy."