Mohammed Abu Khudair was heading to morning prayers at 4am yesterday when neighbors saw him forced into a van in east Jerusalem, his father says. They called his cell phone but "my son wasn't answering," his mother adds, per the BBC. An hour later, the Palestinian teen was found dead in an apparent revenge killing, so burned beyond recognition that DNA samples were needed to confirm his identify, father Hussein Abu Khudair tells NBC News, adding, per Time, "The settlers killed my son, they kidnapped him and killed him." More developments:
- The teen's funeral, originally set for today, has been delayed as authorities perform an autopsy, his father says. Khudair adds he doesn't have faith in the Israeli police "because we're Arab" and says young Jews pulled a 9-year-old boy away from his mother after Mohammed's death. Though he was saved, "he was scratched," Khudair says. "They grabbed him by his neck."
- Another relative of Mohammed adds "the hatred has increased" instantly in the family's neighborhood. "I've never seen such racism, even in the first and second intifada," he tells the New York Times. "We are entering a very dark time."
- Meanwhile, police are investigating what could be a third kidnapping after a girl called police from northern Israel. "She said that she was abducted and then the line went dead," an Israeli spokesman tells the Times. "We're searching the area. Helicopters are trying to track. We'll see what's going on there."
- In response to mortar and rocket attacks from Gaza, "the Israeli Air Force attacked 15 terror sites in Gaza early Thursday," an Israel Defense Forces official notes. "The targets included weapons manufacturing sites as well as training facilities." Some 10 Palestinians were reportedly injured.