Rioting over Arab Teen's Death Escalates in Israel

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Israeli leaders strongly condemned the murder of Arab teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir. Officials suspect Jewish extremists committed the crime as revenge for the earlier kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens.

Israeli police arrested six Jewish suspects in connection with the murder of the 16-year-old.

Meanwwhile, the murder has sparked Arab rioting in Jerusalem and northern Israel. In Jerusalem, rioters destroyed the new light rail train tracks and station.

The rioting started in Shuafat, an Arab neighborhood in Jerusalem, where some of the damage to the light rail can be seen. The municipality has already begun the cleanup and repair.

In the neighborhood where Abu Khdeir lived, relatives say he was abducted just hours after the three Jewish teens were buried.

A video purports to show him being pushed into a car. His charred body was found a short time later in a Jerusalem forest. An autopsy showed he had been burned alive.

Israeli leaders condemned the murder.

"We shall not cover anything," Israeli President Shimon Peres said. "We shall discover all the people who have acted criminally against somebody else -- killed, kidnapped, tortured -- and on that we shall not make any compromise."

Mohammed's cousin, 15-year-old Tariq Abu Khdeir, an Arab-American citizen, said he was beaten during protests.

"I was like in the first part of Shuafat and the front of Beit Hanina. Yeah, and they came and attacked me and I woke up in hospital," he said.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said, "If the policemen brutally beat a boy, that is illegal in Israel and all over the world, and if this is indeed the case, they will be brought to justice."

As the mourning continued for Abu Khdeir, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke by phone with the teen's father.

"I would like to express my outrage and that of the citizens of Israel over the reprehensible murder of your son," Netanyahu said. "We denounce all brutal behavior; the murder of your son is abhorrent and cannot be countenanced by any human being."

The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), meanwhile, announced it had arrested one of the terrorists involved in the kidnapping and murder of the Israeli teens. That drama tormented the nation for 18 days until the boys' bodies were found.

Since then, terrorists have launched more than 160 rockets at southern Israel, damaging buildings but not causing any injuries.

Overnight, Israel attacked nine terror targets in Gaza, killing a number of Hamas members.

Tensions are still running high although Israelis are hoping the summer will cool down. But no one knows yet if this could be the beginning of a third intifada uprising.

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CBN News
Julie Stahl and Chris Mitchell

Julie Stahl and Chris Mitchell

CBN News Middle East Bureau

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