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Israeli police have reportedly arrested six suspects surrounding the kidnap and murder of Palestinian 16-year-old Muhammad Abu Khdeir, who was found beaten and burned to death in a Jerusalem forest last Wednesday.
According to Israeli news source Haaretz, the victim was kidnapped around 4 A.M. on Wednesday and forced into a car by two unknown suspects in Northern Jerusalem. Police soon tracked Khdeir’s cell phone and found his body abandoned and badly burned in a forest just outside of a small neighborhood.
The New York Times reports that an anonymous Israeli official claimed that the motive may be “nationalistic,” as three Israeli teens were similarly killed and kidnapped in West Bank last week. After the three bodies were found, a large number of Israelis marched into Jerusalem demanding revenge. Meanwhile, others have suggested the existence of a deadly dispute between families and questions surrounding the victim’s sexual orientation.
Eastern Jerusalem neighborhoods have since been “clashing with Israeli security forces for several days” in response to the deliberate murder, with outrage spilling into Arab neighborhoods in Israel and creating more friction along the Gaza border.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is pushing for peace in order to alleviate such tension to prevent repeated bombing between Palestinian militants and Israeli neighborhoods. “Experience proves that at such times we must act responsibly and with equanimity, not hastily,” he said in an official statement. “We will do whatever is necessary to restore quiet and security to the south.”
At least six suspects have been arrested by Israeli police forces, though Khdeir’s family remains unsatisfied, Fox News reports. The victim’s father, Hussein Khdeir, remarked that the family has not yet been notified of any official arrests. "Even if they rounded up all of Israel, they will not bring my son back," he said.
Tensions continue to mount in and around Jerusalem in response to the incident.