An undercover police officer narrowly escaped death Wednesday as an Arab mob tried to lynch him in the Shuafat refugee camp in northern Jerusalem.
The officer was discovered in the heat of Arab riots following the murder of an Arab teenager, Muhammad Abu Khdeir, overnight between Tuesday and Wednesday. Abu Khdeir’s charred body was found in the Jerusalem forest at about 5:00 a.m., about an hour after police received a call from his parents reporting him missing. The boy, a 17 year old resident of Shuafat, was allegedly kidnapped from nearby Beit Hanina.
The discovery sparked riots by Arabs in northern Jerusalem Arab neighborhoods such as Shuafat and Beit Hanina, who claimed the murderers were Jews avenging the murders of Eyal Yifrah, Gil-Ad Sha’ar and Naftali Fraenkel.
Israeli leaders, including Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) and Yesha Council spokesman Dani Dayan, condemned the murder immediately. “I vigorously condemn barbaric murder of boy in #Jerusalem. I am confident security forces will bring perpetrators to justice,” Tweeted Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.
Large Scale Riots
Throughout Wednesday morning, residents clashed with police and security forces in Arab-majority neighborhoods around the city. Light Rail service in the area was suspended as rioters hurled rocks and rolled burning tires at police. At least one person injured in the melee and taken to the hospital.
In the Old City Arab worshipers stoned security forces on the Temple Mount and threw rocks over the wall at the Western Wall plaza below. In response to the violence police closed the Mount to Jewish visitors, while leaving it open to the Muslims responsible for the violence.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld confirmed that no arrests have been made as a result of the clashes, but added that police would likely detain participants in the riots “soon. “It is likely there will be (arrests), following review of CCTV footage of the incident,” Rosenfeld told The Jewish Press.
Rosenfeld added that the Temple Mount area has since quieted down, although riots are continuing in the Beit Hanina neighborhood.
Police are continuing their investigation of the circumstances that led to the murder of the young Arab teen, who sources requesting anonymity said may have been killed in a blood feud between two rival clans.