Skip to main content

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
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
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 1225 GMT (2025 HKT)
Action needs to be taken immediately before affected states potentially collapse, says campaigner Bob Geldof.
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 0429 GMT (1229 HKT)
Thomas Malthus famously predicted that rising populations would create a food crunch: Could this be true?
October 18, 2014 -- Updated 1033 GMT (1833 HKT)
From "Sick Man of Europe" to the world's fourth largest economy.
October 20, 2014 -- Updated 1218 GMT (2018 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
October 15, 2014 -- Updated 2318 GMT (0718 HKT)
Australian PM Tony Abbott vows to "shirt-front" Russia's Putin over the MH17 disaster.
October 15, 2014 -- Updated 2327 GMT (0727 HKT)
Serbia and Albania try to play but the major game is called off after a drone flying a political flag enters the stadium.
October 14, 2014 -- Updated 1136 GMT (1936 HKT)
George Clooney's new wife, is now Amal Clooney, raising the issue of married names.
October 14, 2014 -- Updated 1757 GMT (0157 HKT)
The mysterious unmanned X-37B space plane returns to Earth after more than two years in space. But the U.S. Air force isn't saying much.
October 14, 2014 -- Updated 1655 GMT (0055 HKT)
Public health experts are asking whether the CDC is getting the wrong message out.
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 1541 GMT (2341 HKT)
It's no longer necessary to launch your startup in Silicon Valley -- thanks to the internet, you can do it anywhere.
October 8, 2014 -- Updated 0900 GMT (1700 HKT)
From a "democracy wall" to a towering "Umbrella man" statue, see the best art from the massive protests in Hong Kong.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT