Israel’s Border Police increased troops’ preparedness early Friday morning ahead of the funeral for slain Arab teenager, 16-year-old Muhammed Abu Khdeir, whose body was found in a Jerusalem forest Wednesday morning in an alleged revenge killing for three Israeli teenagers kidnapped and murdered on June 12.
The police’s precautions came after two days of clashes between East Jerusalem residents and Border Police officers as tensions surrounding Israeli calls for revenge against Arabs for the killing of the three teens escalated sharply.
Security forces were also set to restrict access to the Temple Mount on the first day of Friday prayers of Ramadan to Muslim men 50 years old and over, and women of all ages. The restrictions came amid efforts to prevent the spread of rioting seen Wednesday and Thursday.
On Thursday afternoon, Arab-Jewish tension in parts of Jerusalem was at fever pitch, three days after the funerals for the three slain Israeli teens and a day after the alleged revenge killing of Abu Khdeir.
In the Shuafat neighborhood, where Abu Khdeir lived, dozens of Arabs blocked roads with dumpsters and hurled rocks for the second day running. Police responded with riot control munitions.
The autopsy on Abu Khdeir’s body was concluded shortly after 5 p.m. The surgery had been postponed for hours while a Palestinian pathologist from Hebron, who was to take part in the autopsy, was held up by the IDF closure of the city, Haaretz reported. Upon arriving at the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute in Tel Aviv, there were complications with the paperwork that pushed the procedure off further.
Arab and Jewish rioters also clashed in the Arab neighborhood of Silwan, outside Jerusalem’s Old City, on Thursday afternoon. Arab rioters punctured the tires of several cars parked in the City of David archaeological complex, possibly while their owners were praying at the Western Wall.
Meanwhile, Jewish rioters hurled Molotov cocktails and rocks at houses in the Silwan neighborhood, next to the archaeological complex.
The main streets in the Shuafat and Beit Hanina neighborhoods, where protesters threw rocks and Molotov cocktails for several hours Wednesday, were partially closed to civilian traffic Thursday morning. The city’s light rail was also running on a reduced schedule until further notice. It would take months to repair the damage caused to the train infrastructure during Wednesday’s riots, officials said.
Police officials have told The Times of Israel they were investigating two possible motives: that Abu Khdeir was killed in a family honor killing, or that it was a nationalistically motivated slaying. According to officials familiar with the investigation, investigators increasingly view the killing as a revenge attack perpetrated by Jewish terrorists.