Riots resume in Jerusalem after Palestinian teen killed in West Bank

Hamas calls to avenge shooting of youth, a US citizen; army says he was about to hurl firebomb at traffic; State Department calls for ‘speedy, transparent’ probe

A Palestinian protester burns a tire during clashes with Israeli security officers in the Issawiya district of Arab east Jerusalem on October 24, 2014. (Photo credit: AFP / AHMAD GHARABLI)
A Palestinian protester burns a tire during clashes with Israeli security officers in the Issawiya district of Arab east Jerusalem on October 24, 2014. (Photo credit: AFP / AHMAD GHARABLI)

Clashes between Israel Police and Palestinian rioters in East Jerusalem continued Friday evening, after a Palestinian teenager was shot dead by IDF forces in the West Bank village of Silwad, near Ramallah, earlier.

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. There were no injuries in the incidents.

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 of the teen said he was a US citizen.

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.

جانب مما يحدث في أحياء القدس المحتلة بين الفتيان وقوات العدو

Posted by ‎شهاب‎ on Friday, October 24, 2014

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 the clashes on Friday, a hospital official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak with the media.

Earlier Friday, three Palestinians were arrested by police during rioting in the Wadi Joz neighborhood of East Jerusalem.

The suspects were throwing rocks and fireworks at police after the conclusion of prayers on the Temple Mount.

Police responded with crowd dispersal methods, according to officials. There were no reports of injuries from the incident.

On Thursday, police dispersed a similar crowd of rioters in the neighborhood. No injuries were reported at that incident, but the stones caused damage to a vehicle.

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.

The last few months have also seen clashes at Jerusalem’s most sensitive holy site between Palestinian stone throwers and Israeli police, adding to the tensions.

Adiv Sterman contributed to this report.

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