Netanyahu calls father of slain Palestinian teen

Mohammed Abu Khudair, 16, is seen in this undated family handout picture released July 6, 2014. (Reuters)

The father of an east Jerusalem teenager who was kidnapped and killed last week in a suspected revenge attack by Jewish extremists received a call from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday.

Mohammed Abukhdair was kidnapped and later murdered in a forest near his home in East Jerusalem on Wednesday. An autopsy report showed Mohammad suffered burns on “90 percent of his body” and that he was still “breathing while on fire.”

Mohammad’s family say the teen was abducted by right-wing Israeli Jews seeking revenge for the murder of three Israeli teens kidnapped last month in the West Bank.

In a statement, Netanyahu’s office said he had spoken with the teenager’s father, Hussein Abukhdair, to offer his condolences and express his outrage over the “abhorrent” murder a day after the security forces confirmed arresting six Jewish extremists on suspicion of involvement.

“I would like to express my outrage and that of the citizens of Israel over the reprehensible murder of your son,” Netanyahu told him.

“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,” he said.

“We denounce all brutal behavior. The murder of your son is abhorrent and cannot be countenanced by any human being.”

Six Israelis have been arrested in connection with the murder.

Three of them have confessed to the murder, a source close to the investigation said on Monday.

“Three out of six suspects in custody have confessed to the murder and burning of Mohammed Abu Khder, and performed a re-enactment of the crime” in front of officers, the source told AFP, requesting anonymity.

The family, who live in Shuafat in east Jerusalem, contacted police just before dawn on Wednesday to say they believed their son had been kidnapped.

His body was discovered shortly afterwards in a forest in west Jerusalem.

The grisly attack was believed to be in revenge for the abduction and murder in the occupied West Bank last month of three Israeli teenagers, two of them 16, which Israel has blamed on Islamist movement Hamas.

“Mohammad was an innocent boy, he was a 16-year-old boy, he was barely 90 pounds, he wouldn’t hurt anyone,” his cousin, Palestinian-American Wadha Abukhdair, told Al Arabiya News on Sunday.

“He had nothing to do with the kidnapping or death of those three [Jewish teens]. No one in his family had anything to do with it, no one in the vicinity had anything to do with it, and yet he’s paid the price for their death,” said Wadha.

“Their death caused his death here because the Israeli government and [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu continuously spoke of vengeance, they incited their people to riot and into a frenzy and some of them wanted blood. This is what happened; a vigilante act against my cousin and he had nothing to do with it.”

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Last Update: 12:26 KSA 15:26 - GMT 12:26
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