Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered an investigation into the kidnapping and killing of a Palestinian teen in Jerusalem that may have been revenge for the deaths of three Israelis teens who were kidnapped last month.
The bodies of Eyal Yifrach, 19, and Gil-Ad Shaar and Naftali Frenkel, both 16, were found in the West Bank on Monday, nearly two weeks after they went missing as they hitchhiked near their religious schools around Hebron.
Early Wednesday morning, the burned body of Palestinian teen Mohammed Abu Khudair was found in a forested area west of Jerusalem, the Los Angeles Times reported. Khudair was reported missing Tuesday night. The Times said he was 17 years old, while Reuters said he was 16.
Amid speculation that Khudair’s death was retaliation for the deaths of Yifrach, Shaar and Frenklel, with right-wing Israeli extremists possibly behind the Palestinian teen’s killing, Netanyahu urged vigilantes “not to take the law into their own hands,” according to Haaretz.
"Israel is a state of law and everyone is obligated to act in accordance with the law,” the prime minister said.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat condemned Khudair’s killing, calling it a “grave and barbaric act.”
Dmitry Diliana, a Fatah official, said, “The Israeli government bears responsibility for Jewish terrorism and for the kidnapping and murder in occupied Jerusalem.”
Netanyahu accused Hamas of murdering the three Israeli teens -- an allegation denied by the Palestinian militant group. Another group calling itself the Islamic State in Jerusalem claimed responsibility for the deaths.
The discovery of the dead Palestinian teen led to clashes in Shuafat, an Arab suburb of Jerusalem, where witnesses said they saw Khudair being forced into a vehicle, residents told Reuters.
No Israeli security forces were injured in the clash in which a Palestinian was attacked by fellow Palestinians after he was mistaken for an undercover officer, according to Haaretz.