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 7:17 PM EDT, Tue July 29, 2014
While aspects of the fighting in Gaza resemble earlier clashes, this time feels different, writes military analyst Rick Francona.
updated 11:09 PM EDT, Tue July 29, 2014
The death of an American from Ebola fuels fears of the further global spread of the virus.
updated 9:25 PM EDT, Tue July 29, 2014
Nearly two weeks after MH17 was blown out of the sky, Dutch investigators have yet to lay eyes on the wreckage. How useful will it be now?
updated 8:56 PM EDT, Tue July 29, 2014
The U.S. and EU are imposing new sanctions on Moscow -- but will they have any effect?
This looks like a ghost ship, but it's actually the site of a tense international standoff between the Philippines and China.
updated 11:55 AM EDT, Sat July 26, 2014
The reported firing of artillery from Russian territory is a sign Vladimir Putin has escalated the Ukraine battle, says CNN's military analyst Rick Francona.
updated 4:46 AM EDT, Sun July 27, 2014
The young boy stops, stares, throws ammunition casings at the reporter's feet without a word.
updated 8:48 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Sure, Fido is a brown Lab. But inside, he may also be a little green.
updated 9:03 AM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Photograph of an undisclosed location by Patrycja Makowska
Patrycja Makowska likes to give enigmatic names to the extraordinarily beautiful photographs she shoots of crumbling palaces.
updated 4:04 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
When the Costa Concordia and its salvage convoy finally depart Giglio, the residents will breathe a sigh of relief -- and shed a tear.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT