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Originally published July 3, 2014 at 5:51 AM | Page modified July 4, 2014 at 3:22 AM

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Tense calm in Jerusalem for Palestinian funeral

Israeli police beefed up security in and around Jerusalem on Friday ahead of the funeral of an Arab teenager who Palestinians say was killed by Israeli extremists.


Associated Press

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JERUSALEM —

Israeli police beefed up security in and around Jerusalem on Friday ahead of the funeral of an Arab teenager who Palestinians say was killed by Israeli extremists.

Police are taking extra precautions as the funeral coincides with the first Friday prayer services of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the city was calm Friday after two days of protests over the death. The burned body of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir was found Wednesday in a forest after he was seized near his home in east Jerusalem. The teen's funeral is set for later in the day.

News of his death prompted outrage in his east Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat. Protesters clashed with police for two days, throwing rocks and firebombs while security forces responded Awith tear gas and stun grenades.

Abu Khdeir's family set up a large tent outside the home for those seeking to pay condolences and distributed posters mourning his death.

The boy's father, Hussein, said doctors completed an autopsy Thursday evening, and the family was expecting to receive the body after prayers.

Palestinians have accused Israeli extremists for the killing, saying it was a revenge attack for three Israeli teens that were recently abducted and killed in the West Bank.

Israeli police said an investigation was ongoing and the motives remained unclear.

The killing was widely condemned by Israeli leaders.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tried Thursday to calm the situation, condemning Abu Khdeir's killing and vowing to find the attackers.

"We don't know yet the motives or the identities of the perpetrators, but we will. We will bring to justice the criminals responsible for this despicable crime whoever they may be," Netanyahu said in a speech celebrating U.S. Independence Day at the American Embassy in Tel Aviv. "Murder, riots, incitement, vigilantism, they have no place in our democracy."

Street protests in Jerusalem subsided Friday morning but tensions were high ahead of the funeral in the afternoon.

On the main road in Shuafat, streets and light rail tracks remained covered in charred debris, rocks and large garbage cans.

Already tense Israeli-Palestinian relations increased after three Israeli teenagers, one of whom had American citizenship, were abducted in the West Bank on June 12, sparking a massive manhunt that ended with the discovery of their bodies early this week.

Israel blamed Hamas for the abductions. Hamas, which has abducted Israelis before, praised the kidnapping of the teens but did not take responsibility for it.

Israel launched a massive crackdown on the Islamic militant group in the West Bank after the disappearance.

Rocket attacks from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on Israel intensified and drew Israeli airstrikes.

The military says Palestinian militants have fired some 140 rockets at southern Israel in recent weeks. The air force responded with airstrikes on about 70 targets in Gaza, the military said.

Calm was reported on the border with Gaza Friday, one day after Israel sent troops to the area.



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