Autopsy reveals Palestinian teen burned alive

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Relatives and friends of Mohammed Abu Khudair, 16, carry his body to the mosque during his funerals in Shuafat, in occupied East Jerusalem on July 4, 2014. (Photo: AFP - Ahmad Gharabli)

Published Saturday, July 5, 2014

Initial autopsy findings from the charred body of a Palestinian teenager from East Jerusalem who was kidnapped and killed by suspected Israeli settlers showed that he was burned alive, the Palestinian attorney-general is reported as saying.

"The direct cause of death was burns as a result of fire and its complications," Mohammed Al-A'wewy was quoted as saying by Palestinian official news agency Wafa late on Friday.

Israeli-Palestinian tensions have risen sharply after three Israeli settlers were kidnapped on June 12 and later found dead in the occupied West Bank.

This was followed on Wednesday by the kidnapping of Mohammed Abu Khudair, 16, in his neighborhood in Arab East Jerusalem. His charred body was found hours later in a forest on the edge of the city.

Saber al-Aloul, the director of the Palestinian forensic institute, attended the autopsy which was carried out by Israeli doctors in Tel Aviv.

A'wewy said Aloul had reported fire dust material was found in Khudair's respiratory canal which meant "the boy had inhaled this material while he was burnt alive."

Burns covered 90 percent of the surface of the body. The head suffered a cut. Samples like liquids and tissues were taken for more lab examinations to complete the legal medical report.

At Khudair's funeral on Friday, furious Palestinians chanted "Intifada! Intifada," calling for a new uprising against Israel. Stones thrown at Israeli police were met by teargas, stun grenades and rubber bullets in one of the most highly charged displays of enmity in Jerusalem in years.

Violence continued across the occupied West Bank overnight with at least one Palestinian hurt in the city of Nablus, medical staff said. Unrest also erupted in Israeli-occupied Palestinian towns inside the 1949 Armistice line, a police spokeswoman said.

(Reuters, Al-Akhbar)


It is useful in this context to remember that Israeli "rubber bullets" are not made of rubber. They are solid metal spheres approximately two centimeters in diameter covered with a plastic skin, fired from a barrel extension on an M-16/4 rifle propelled by a standard rifle blank cartridge. In fact, one anti-riot bullet "round", fired by one blank, contains three of the balls. Israeli procedures require the intended victim be at least a hundred meters from the shooter. Deaths have occurred after being hit but seem to be quite rare.
These are not little tennis balls, on the other hand.

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