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article imageTensions near breaking in Jerusalem as Palestinian boy is buried

By Nathan Salant     Jul 6, 2014 in World
Jerusalem - Palestinians and Israelis in Jerusalem expressed frustration Friday as the funeral of a slain Palestinian boy approached while radicals in Gaza fired missiles at communities in southern Israel.
Palestinian men chanted in the streets of the Shuafat neighborhood in East Jerusalem where 16-year-old Muhammad Abu Khdeir was to be buried, as thousands of family members and friends turned out for what they said would be a martyr's funeral.
“All the youth are your sons,” members of the crowd told the victim's mother in Arabic, according to the New York Times newspaper.
“We sacrifice our souls and blood for the martyr,” the mourners said.
Muhammad was kidnapped just before dawn on Wednesday and found dead shortly thereafter in what was immediately called a revenge attack following the kidnap and murder of three Jewish teens in the West Bank last month.
Israel blamed the kidnapping and murder of the seminary students on Hamas, the radical anti-Israel terrorist group that controls the Gaza Strip, but Hamas has denied involvement.
With tensions running so high, clashes between mourners and Israeli security forces began early but never exploded into the full-scale battles that many had feared despite calls for widespread protests.
But tomorrow is another day.
Gaza militants have fired 150 projectiles into Israel since June 12, when the Israeli youngsters were abducted, the newspaper said.
Of the 150, 98 landed in Israel but did little damage, 18 were intercepted and others fell short.
Israel launched airstrikes in response many times, the Times said.
“One possibility is that the fire stops, and the quiet continues,” Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said Thursday night at an Independence Day celebration at the residence of the United States ambassador.
“Otherwise, the fire will continue, and then reinforced troops in southern Israel will use force," Netanyahu said.
Israeli news organizations reported Friday that the government had given Hamas 48 hours to stop the rockets or face a major military operation.
Later, a Hamas official, Mushir al-Masri, told reporters in Gaza on Friday that contacts were underway to restore a ceasefire that had put an end to almost daily cross-border violence in 2012.
“Calm would be answered with calm,” Masri said.
Muhammad's funeral was scheduled for the first Friday of the Muslim Ramadan holiday, which usually is a time of heightened tensions between Israelis and Palestinians, the Times said.
Israeli police said they were continuing to investigate Muhammad's slaying to determine if it was a revenge killing or was another type of crme.
But in Shuafat, relatives and friends were certain that Muhammad's killing was an act of vengeance by Jewish settlers.
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