JERUSALEM - One of two Palestinians who claimed to have been savagely beaten by a Jewish mob in east Jerusalem was still in intensive care in an Israeli hospital on Sunday, two days after the alleged attack.

Relatives of Amir Shweiki 20, said on Sunday he was being treated at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital after being attacked along with Samer Mahfouz, also 20, as they walked near the Jewish settlement neighbourhood of Neve Yaakov on Friday evening.

A spokeswoman for the hospital told AFP that one of the men was ‘in intensive care but conscious and doing well’ while the other was in a surgical ward. She did not identify them by name on grounds of medical confidentiality.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP that the men alleged they were attacked by Jewish Israelis. ‘They gave official testimony that they were attacked by a number of people,’ he said.’We’re taking their claims very seriously. ‘The investigation is continuing,’ he added. ‘We’re still looking for suspects.’

Haaretz newspaper quoted Mahfouz as saying that he and Shweiki were assaulted by about 12 men. ‘They had sticks and iron bars and they hit us over the head,’ he said. Tensions between Palestinians and Israelis in annexed east Jerusalem plunged to a new low on July 2 when 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khder was snatched from an east Jerusalem street and later found burned alive.

Police arrested six alleged Jewish extremists as suspects and on July 17 charged three, freeing the others. At an appearance in the Jerusalem district court on Sunday, Yosef Haim Ben-David, 29, who is charged along with two minors, declared to journalists: ‘I am the Messiah.’ In addition there have been violent Palestinian protests in and around the city as the toll of dead in Israel’s Gaza Strip offensive spirals daily. Moreover, Netanyahu said Israeli forces will continue operations to dismantle Hamas’ cross-border tunnel network and to destroy its rocket arsenal.

‘I would say we want to stop firing rockets for sure. We want to dismantle the tunnel, the terror tunnel network we uncovered. I don’t know if we’ll have 100 percent success,’ he said. ‘Our soldiers are dealing with it now.’ Netanyahu insisted Israel does not deliberately target Palestinian civilians, accusing Hamas of provoking conflict in residential areas, and said the long-term goal was to prevent attacks on Israel.

‘I hope we achieve a sustainable quiet that will enable us to address the issue of demilitarizing Gaza,’ he told CBS. ‘And if Hamas is weak and discredited and demilitarized then we may have a chance to work something with the more moderate forces and get a better future for all of us.’ Since July 8 more than 1,050 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza fighting, while another 6,000 have been injured. A total of 43 Israeli soldiers, two civilians and a Thai migrant worker have died.