Autopsy shows murdered Palestinian teen was burned alive

Published July 5th, 2014 - 01:37 GMT

Initial autopsy findings from the body of an east Jerusalem youth who Palestinians believe was kidnapped and killed by far-right Jews showed that he was burned alive, the Palestinian attorney-general is reported as saying.

"The direct cause of death was burns as a result of fire and it's complications," Mohammed Al A'wewy was quoted as saying by Palestinian official news agency Wafa late on Friday.

Israeli-Palestinian tensions have risen sharply after three Israeli teens were kidnapped on June 12 and later found dead in the West Bank.

This was followed on Wednesday by the kidnapping of Muhammad Abu Khdeir, 16, in his neighborhood in Arab east Jerusalem. His charred body was found hours later in a forest on the edge of the city.

Saber Al Aloul, the director of the Palestinian forensic institute, attended the autopsy which was carried out by Israeli doctors in Tel Aviv.

Al A'wewy said Al Aloul had reported fire dust material was found in Khudair's respiratory canal which meant "the boy had inhaled this material while he was burnt alive."

Burns covered 90 percent of the surface of the body. The head suffered a cut. Samples like liquids and tissues were taken for more lab examinations to complete the legal medical report.

At Khdeir's funeral on Friday, furious Palestinians chanted "Intifada! Intifada", calling for a new uprising against Israel. Stones thrown at Israeli police were met by teargas, stun grenades and rubber bullets in one of the most highly charged displays of enmity in Jerusalem in years.

Clashes continued across the West Bank overnight with at least one Palestinian hurt in the city of Nablus, medical staff said. Clashes also erupted in Israeli-Arab towns, a police spokeswoman said.

In Taibe and Tira, protestors burned tires, blocking the entrance to town and threw rocks at police and Border Police. By morning Sharon area police said they had arrested three people for attacking officers, who they said had put down the disturbances using "riot control methods" - a term typically used to refer to tear gas and stun grenades.

Rioting also occurred outside the settlement of Ma'ale Adumim, where hundreds of rioters began gathering around 9:00 p.m., throwing Molotov cocktails and rocks and burning tires, according to Judea and Samaria police.

Sharon police said that during the clashes Friday night a Jewish Israeli driver who lives in the area was stopped by a mob near the entrance to Kalansua and forced out of his car, which was then torched. Police said that the man was not harmed, and fled on foot.

On Saturday Sharon police said they had sent "dozens to hundreds" of extra police and Border Patrol officers to the Triangle to be on hand if the clashes begin anew. They added that there is a protest planned in the area on Saturday afternoon but that as of mid-day the situation was quiet.

Palestinian officials trying to calm tensions have said they would prevent any intifada, or uprising, and seek a solution to the crisis that began when the three Israeli teens were kidnapped.

The discovery of the young Israelis' bodies on Monday prompted an outpouring of national grief in Israel.

Many Palestinians, including President Mahmoud Abbas, assert that Khdeir was the victim of far-right Jews incensed at the Israeli deaths.

With Israel having mobilised ground forces outside Gaza on Thursday in a threat to invade, Egypt tried to mediate a truce. Israel and the Islamist Palestinian Hamas movement each said the other had to back down first.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Abu Khdeir's killing, a day after the three Jewish seminary students were buried, "loathsome" and ordered a swift police investigation.

Israeli authorities said they did not yet know whether Abu Khdeir was indeed the victim of a hate crime.

Ben Hartman contributed to this report.

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