The Palestinian teenager Muhammad Abu Khudair who was kidnapped and murdered in Jerusalem early on Wednesday morning was burned to death by his killers.
The news of the horrifying manner in which Muhammad was killed came on the same day that thousands of people turned out for his funeral in the Shuafat neighborhood of eastern occupied Jerusalem where he lived.
Palestinian Authority Attorney General Muhammad Abdul Ghani al-Aweiwi told the official Palestinian news agency Wafa that the preliminary autopsy report states that the remnants of a burned substance (soot) was present in Muhammad’s respiratory passages and lungs, indicating he had inhaled the substance while being burned alive.
Burning and complications stemming from it were the direct cause of death, according to the autopsy report.
The autopsy was carried out at the Israeli Abu Kabir Forensic Institute in the presence of an official Palestinian pathologist, Dr. Sabir al-Aloul.
Muhammad’s body was ninety percent covered in burns varying from first to fourth degree in severity and he also had a head injury, al-Aweiwi stated.
He said that samples taken from the teen’s body would allow more in-depth analysis of the circumstances of his death.
Israeli authorities have imposed a strict gag order on reporting details regarding the investigation into Muhammad’s murder, which was an apparent reprisal for the killings of three Israeli teenagers who were abducted in the occupied West Bank on 12 June and whose bodies were found last Monday.
Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch has accused Israel of “serious violations” in a large-scale assault on Palestinians since the Israeli teens’ abduction which the group said amounts to “collective punishment.”
This video, though of poor quality, shows the vast numbers of people joining the funeral march to the cemetery where Muhammad was laid to rest:
In this image from Zalameh, Shuafat youth stand on the roof of the Jerusalem light rail stop that was destroyed in days of protests over Muhammad’s killing:
Zalameh reported through his @BDS4Justice Twitter account that protests and violent Israeli efforts to suppress them resumed in Shuafat after the funeral, but that the numbers of people involved were in the dozens – much fewer than in previous days:
Clashes outside in shoafat right now!— Zalameh (@BDS4Justice) July 4, 2014
Now that the clashes in Shoafat are over, the worst is about to come. The night raids and arrests. I am not looking forward to that— Zalameh (@BDS4Justice) July 4, 2014
No one in Shoafat will be immune to Israel’s attacks, this was a general uprising, collective punishment to come— Zalameh (@BDS4Justice) July 4, 2014
Local media report that more than 170 Palestinians have been injured by Israeli occupation forces, who have used tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets and are shown on video brutally beating a youth since Muhammad’s killing.
Israel’s military operations in the West Bank following the abduction and killing of three Israeli teenagers have amounted to collective punishment. The military operations included unlawful use of force, arbitrary arrests, and illegal home demolitions. During raids on Palestinian towns, refugee camps and villages, Israeli forces have shot and killed at least five Palestinians and arrested and detained at least 150 more without charge.
The release adds:
Human Rights Watch investigated two of the deadly shooting cases and found that while some youths were throwing stones, there was no evidence that the victim or anyone in the line of fire posed an imminent threat to the lives of Israeli soldiers or others.
“Israeli settlers, in two separate incidents, reportedly ran over a 28-year-old Palestinian man near Hebron and a 9-year-old girl near Bethlehem in the West Bank on June 30, shortly after Israeli forces discovered the three Israeli teenagers’ bodies,” the group reports.
Human Rights Watch calls on Israel to “take all feasible measures to prevent reprisal attacks.”
Israeli occupation forces have arrested approximately 700 Palestinians since 12 June and are currently detaining at least 450, the group says.
At least 150 have already been given “administrative detention” orders under which they can be held for prolonged periods with charge or trial.