Three Israeli Jews have come forward to confess to the torturing and killing of a 16-year-old Palestinian teenager who was burned alive in early July. The boy’s charred remains were found in a wooded area near the Israeli and Palestinian capital of Jerusalem. Mohammed Abu Khudair’s body was beaten, bashed with what appeared to be stones, and then burned.
A trio of Israeli suspects have now stepped forward to admit to the retaliatory, vigilante-style murder. The 16-year-old’s death sparked widespread outrage among Palestinians, many of whom believe he was killed in retaliation for the abduction and killing of three Israeli teens in the West Bank.
Last week, Palestinian General Prosecutor Mohammed al-Auwewy said he discovered traces of smoke inside of the boy’s lungs, indicating that he was still alive and breathing while he was burned. Over 90 percent of Khudair’s body had been torched.
Reports the NY Post: “The confessions came as tensions continued to rise along Israel’s volatile front with the Gaza Strip. Israeli airstrikes, launched in response to persistent rocket fire, killed at least eight Palestinian militants. The Hamas militant group vowed revenge, saying ‘the enemy will pay a tremendous price.’”
Khudair’s death set off a powder keg of protests, igniting an already charged atmosphere among Palestinian and Israeli forces in both the West Bank and Jerusalem. The boy’s horrific abduction and killing “triggered days of violent protests in Arab areas of Jerusalem and northern Israel,” wrote the Post.
The three suspects have not been named; they voluntarily turned themselves over to police and remain in custody. Media reports state at least one of the suspects, all males, was a minor.
A spokesperson for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the minister contacted Abu Khdeir’s father, Hussein, to express his outrage and condolences.
“I would like to express my outrage and that of the citizens of Israel over the reprehensible murder of your son,” Netanyahu reportedly said. “We acted immediately to apprehend the murderers. We will bring them to trial and they will be dealt with to the fullest extent of the law. We denounce all brutal behavior, the murder of your son is abhorrent and cannot be countenanced by any human being.”
Hussein Abu Khdeir, deep in grief, said he “didn’t know” if the Prime Minister had called.
“Maybe he called, I don’t know,” Hussein said. “Tons of people called me this morning to apologize for what happened to my son. Some of them were crying. But I don’t know if Netanyahu was one of them.”
Arab protestors from Northern Israel have been on the uprise for days, throwing rocks at cars, burning vehicles and lobbing homemade firebombs at riot police.