Israeli security forces were on alert Saturday ahead of the funeral of a Palestinian teenager who was shot and killed by IDF troops Friday in the West Bank village of Silwad, near Ramallah. Fearing riots and unrest, the army said it would boost forces in areas prone to confrontation and violence.
On Saturday evening another funeral was set to be held – that of Abdel Rahman al-Shaludi, the terrorist who ran over pedestrians at a Jerusalem light rail station on Wednesday, killing a 3-month old baby and injuring eight others. Israel Radio reported that al-Shaludi would be buried at a Muslim cemetery near the Old City’s Lions’ Gate at 10 p.m. after a court authorized a service to be attended by 80 people.
The court rejected Israeli authorities’ request to hold the service at 1 a.m. while only authorizing 20 people to attend — apparently an attempt to discourage demonstrations and rallies surrounding the funeral.
Police said Saturday they had arrested four suspects in East Jerusalem who were believed to have taken part in riots in Jerusalem’s Old City. The four were taken for questioning.
Prison Service Commissioner Aharon Franko, who was formerly the head of police’s Jerusalem District, told Ynet News the recent spike in Arab demonstrations in the city could not be quelled by force alone.
“Jerusalem is a very sensitive city,” he said. “It’s not possible to stop the violence occurring today with force alone… The instructions are to hold talks with the leadership. To speak with the representatives of the residents and with the aprents whose children are detained. This is being done by the (police) commanders.”
In the northern Druze town of Daliyat al-Karmel, residents discovered four graffiti paintings of the word “Daesh” — Arabic for Islamic State — near a soccer field. Police were investigating the incident and Rafik Halabi, head of the local council, said he had urged police to set up cameras in the area to apprehend the vandalists “and stop this abhorrent phenomenon.”
Clashes between police and Palestinian rioters in East Jerusalem continued Friday evening.. Protesters hurled stones and firecrackers at police forces in the Old City and the capital’s Silwan neighborhood. Police, in turn, responded with riot dispersal means, Army Radio reported.
Hamas called on Friday to avenge the killing of 14-year-old Orwa Abd El-Wahab Hammad, who was shot by IDF troops after he attempted to hurl a Molotov cocktail at traffic on Highway 60, in the West Bank.
A relative said Hammad was born in New Orleans and came to the West Bank at age six. Hammad’s cousin Moath said he was among a group of Palestinians who were throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers.
The US consulate in Jerusalem said the youth held US citizenship, while locals in Silwad said Hammad’s father lives in the United States.
“We can confirm now that the teenager who was killed was an American citizen,” consulate spokesman Leslie Ordeman told AFP, without commenting further.
The US State Department later expressed its condolences to the boy’s family, and called for “a speedy and transparent investigation, and will remain closely engaged with the local authorities, who have the lead on this investigation.” It urged calm from both sides to “avoid escalating tensions.”
The IDF said the teenager was 17 and was shot as he was about to hurl a Molotov cocktail at oncoming traffic on Highway 60 in the West Bank, endangering lives.
“The forces fired immediately to neutralize the danger … and confirmed a hit,” an IDF spokeswoman told AFP.
He is the second teen to be killed by army fire in eight days. A 13-year-old was killed last week in a West Bank village.
Another 12 Palestinians were wounded in clashes on Friday, a hospital official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak with the media.
Tensions flared in the capital Thursday in the wake of a Wednesday terrorist attack on a Jerusalem light rail station in which three-month-old Chaya Zissel Braun was killed and eight others were injured.
Jerusalem’s mayor called for a crackdown against the wave of Palestinian unrest. In a Thursday interview, Mayor Nir Barkat said the violence had become intolerable, and he vowed to restore order.
Tensions have been high since June, when three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and killed by Palestinian terrorists in the West Bank. Jewish extremists retaliated by kidnapping and killing a Palestinian teenager in east Jerusalem, sparking riots. The kidnappings set off a series of events that led to the 50-day Gaza war.
Times of Israel Staff contributed to this report.