Mohammed Abu Khdeir woke up early to go to a mosque for Ramadan prayers
Instead, the 16-year-old was abducted, then killed in his hometown of Jerusalem
A friend recalls Abu Khdeir, 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"
Like so many other Muslims during Ramadan, Mohammed Abu Khdeir 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 16-year-old as Abu Khdeir walked between his home and mosque around 4 a.m. Wednesday, then forced him inside, according to authorities and family members.
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 Khdeir’s body “was charred and bore signs of violence.” Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told the Jerusalem Post the teen had significant burn marks.
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.
Suha Abu Khdeir, 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 Khdeir 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.