Skip to main content

Abducted, killed Palestinian teenager described as kind, beloved

By Greg Botelho and Kareem Khadder, CNN
updated 7:02 AM EDT, Thu July 3, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Mohammad Abu Khedair woke up early to go to a mosque for Ramadan prayers
  • Instead, the 17-year-old was abducted, then killed in his hometown of Jerusalem
  • A friend recalls Abu Khedair, who would have graduated high school next year, as kind
  • "Everyone loves him," his mother says of a boy who "never gets into trouble at all"

(CNN) -- Like so many other Muslims during Ramadan, Mohammad Abu Khedair woke up early to recharge, physically and spiritually.

His first order of business was to eat a big meal, to sustain him through the day until he could break the seasonal Muslim fast at sunset. The next was to head to a mosque in his middle-class Palestinian neighborhood of Shuafat in Jerusalem for prayers.

But he never made it.

Three people in a car came upon the 17-year-old as Abu Khedair walked between his home and mosque around 4 a.m. Wednesday, then forced him inside, according to authorities and family members.

Mohamad Abu Khedair, 17, was kidnapped and killed Wednesday morning in Jerusalem.
Mohamad Abu Khedair, 17, was kidnapped and killed Wednesday morning in Jerusalem.

About an hour after his abduction, the teen's body was discovered in a forest elsewhere in Jerusalem.

The Palestinian state news agency WAFA blamed the kidnapping and killing on "settlers," saying Abu Khedair's body "was charred and bore signs of violence." Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told the Jerusalem Post the teen had significant burn marks.

Abduction, killing heightens tensions

It was a horrible end for someone who friends and family remembered fondly on Wednesday.

His friend, Hussam Abed, described him as a kind youngster.

Mourners of Eyal Yifrach, 19, attend his funeral outside his house in Elad, Israel, on Tuesday, July 1. The bodies of Yifrach and two other Israeli teenagers, Naftali Frankel and Gilad Shaar, were found a day earlier after they were abducted last month on their way home from school in the West Bank. Mourners of Eyal Yifrach, 19, attend his funeral outside his house in Elad, Israel, on Tuesday, July 1. The bodies of Yifrach and two other Israeli teenagers, Naftali Frankel and Gilad Shaar, were found a day earlier after they were abducted last month on their way home from school in the West Bank.
Israel mourns 3 dead teenagers
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
>
>>
Israel mourns 3 dead teenagers Israel mourns 3 dead teenagers

Suha Abu Khedair, the late teenager's mother, noted that he would have graduated from high school next year.

"He's not a kid who gets into trouble at all," she told Reuters. "Everyone loves him. All his friends love him."

Abu Khedair hadn't fully made his mark on the world. He was still a student, after all, albeit one on summer vacation at the time of his killing.

What would his future have held? His family will never know. Instead, all they can do is mourn, remember him and think of what might have been.

Opinion: Teens' killing hurts Israelis, bad for Palestinians

Opinion: Slain teens call for justice, not escalation

Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:21 AM EST, Thu November 27, 2014
The first human trial of an experimental Ebola vaccine has produced promising results, U.S. scientists said.
updated 9:15 AM EST, Thu November 27, 2014
Darren Wilson, the police officer who fatally shot unarmed black teen in August abandoned home after address made public.
updated 5:36 PM EST, Tue November 25, 2014
HBO -- backing a documentary based on "Going Clear," a book about Scientology and Hollywood -- isn't taking any chances with legal side.
updated 2:35 PM EST, Wed November 26, 2014
Grandmaster Nguyen Van Chieu has devoted his adult life to spreading the word about Vietnames martial art, Vovinam.
updated 1:47 PM EST, Fri November 28, 2014
England cricketer Nick Compton shares insight into "drive and courage" it takes to face fears as top batsman.
updated 7:59 PM EST, Wed November 26, 2014
Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson says he was just doing his "job right" when he shot and killed black teenager Michael Brown.
updated 8:18 PM EST, Sun November 23, 2014
The interior of the Formosa Boulevard Mass Rapid Transit Station in Kaohsiung, in southern Taiwan.
Stunning stations where your first priority won't be finding the nearest exit.
updated 6:18 PM EST, Tue November 25, 2014
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says women's "nature is different," sparking fury.
updated 5:43 AM EST, Mon November 24, 2014
A 30-year-old woman has been charged with attempting to kill a baby police say spent five days down a drain before being discovered by cyclists.
updated 8:21 PM EST, Thu November 20, 2014
If it wasn't for a comic's skit, Bill Cosby would still be America's favorite father, says expert.
updated 7:51 PM EST, Sun November 23, 2014
Where do hip young things hang out in Taiwan?
updated 10:50 AM EST, Fri November 21, 2014
Obama orders the most sweeping overhaul of U.S. immigration in decades, prioritizing the deportation of "felons, not families."
updated 4:06 PM EST, Tue November 18, 2014
Fighters loyal to ISIS are now in control of Derna, a city on Libya's Mediterranean coast.
updated 6:19 PM EST, Fri November 21, 2014
China and likely other countries have the capacity to shut down the U.S. power grid, says the NSA.
updated 2:45 PM EST, Wed November 19, 2014
The founder of a U.S. nonprofit that works with returning soldiers is named CNN's Hero of the Year.
updated 12:54 PM EST, Fri November 28, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT