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Funeral for Palestinian teen turns violent in East Jerusalem

By the CNN Wire Staff
Palestinian youth throw stones during clashes with Israeli police on May 13, 2011, in Issawiya, East Jerusalem.
Palestinian youth throw stones during clashes with Israeli police on May 13, 2011, in Issawiya, East Jerusalem.
  • Israeli police arrest four Palestinians
  • Several people are treated for tear gas inhalation, medical official says
  • Witnesses say clashes erupt during funeral procession for Palestinian teen
  • Israeli police are bracing for violent clashes as Palestinians mark ''Nakba Day''

Jerusalem (CNN) -- A funeral procession for a Palestinian teenager who died from a gunshot wound turned violent Saturday when participants clashed with Israeli police, escalating tensions ahead of a Palestinian mourning day marking the birth of the Jewish state.

Scattered clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces began Friday throughout East Jerusalem, which Palestinians want named as the capital of a Palestinian state.

Palestinians hurled stones; Israelis fired tear gas. Israeli police arrested four Palestinians, said police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.

Several people were treated for tear gas inhalation, said a Palestinian Medical Relief Committee official. One person was injured in a beating.

The Israelis beefed up security on the streets as both sides braced for more violence leading into "Nakba Day" on Sunday. Nakba, meaning catastrophe in Arabic, marks the period when more than 700,000 Arabs were displaced from their homes during the fighting following the creation of Israel in 1948.

Milady Ayahs, 17, was participating in a protest Friday when Israeli police shot him, his family said. He died early Saturday, according to police and his family. The incident is under investigation.

Initial reports were that no live ammunition was used by police who responded to the protests, Rosenfeld said. He said Ayahs was taken to the hospital with what appeared to be a gunshot wound to the shoulder.

Rosenfeld said police asked to perform an autopsy on Ayahs to aid the investigation, but the family declined.

Hundreds of Palestinians joined the funeral procession that began at Ayahs' family home near Jerusalem's Old City and was winding its way toward a burial ground when a number of participants threw rocks at Jewish settlers and police, who in turn threw tear gas at the procession-goers.

Despite the violence, the procession continued to the al-Aqsa mosque, considered the third holiest site in Islam, where Ayahs was buried.

At the mosque, young men in the funeral procession draped Palestinian flags on the roof -- a rare, strong political statement, according to witnesses.

CNN's Kevin Flower and Kareem Khadder contributed to this report.