Preliminary Autopsy: 16-Year-Old Palestinian Was Burned Alive

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
July 5 2014 9:32 AM

Preliminary Autopsy: 16-Year-Old Palestinian Was Burned Alive

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Thousands of Palestinians gather for the funeral of 16-year-old Mohammad Abu Khdeir on Friday

REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly

In a revelation that is bound to add fuel to the fire of increased Palestinian-Israeli tensions, it seems a Palestinian teenager who was killed this week may have been burned alive. A Palestinian official briefed on the preliminary reports of the autopsy of the 16-year-old boy says there was soot in his lungs. “It was obvious through autopsy that there was black smoke on the breathing airways, windpipes and in the two lungs,” Palestinian Attorney General Mohammed Al A’wewy wrote on his agency’s website, according to the New York Times. “This is proof of inhalation of this material during the torch, while he was alive.” He added that Mohammad Abu Khdeir suffered burns on “90 percent of his body,” reports the Associated Press.

The revelation came after thousands of Palestinians clashed with Israeli police as they demanded a new intifada Friday after Khdeir’s funeral, which ended a week of tensions that began after soldiers discovered the bodies of three Israeli teens who had been missing for more than two weeks. That was followed by Khdier’s abduction early Wednesday morning in what Palestinians are convinced was a revenge killing. “The killings have brought Israeli-Palestinian relations to their most combustible level in nearly a decade, and Friday’s running street battles between rock-throwing demonstrators and stun-grenade-firing police revived dark memories of intifadas, or uprisings, from decades past,” notes the Washington Post. The post-funeral clashes continued overnight in the occupied West Bank and in Israeli-Arab towns, reports Reuters.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.