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Abducted, killed Palestinian teenager described as kind, beloved

By Greg Botelho and Kareem Khadder, CNN
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 1102 GMT (1902 HKT)
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
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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

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