The brutal death of a teenager halfway across the world is escalating international outrage and tension in the ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. It is also resonating here in the Bay Area, where the teen’s cousins live in Los Gatos. NBC Bay Area's Ian Cull spoke with the family who are condemning his death and mourning his loss.
The brutal death of a teenager halfway across the world is escalating international outrage and tension in the ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.
It’s also resonating here in the Bay Area, where one family says that teen was their cousin.
The bodies of three Israeli teens were found Monday. Then Wednesday, police say 16-year-old Palestinian Muhammad Hussein Abu Khdier was abducted and killed.
Police are investigating whether it was a revenge killing.
“No one will understand until it happens to you,” cousin Sophia Abu Khdier said.
The boy’s relatives in Los Gatos were upset when they heard of his death.
“It’s sad and it’s sickening, no one deserves to die like this,” Sophia and Lamya Abu Khdier said.
The sisters' mother Yusra Abu Khdier says it’s unimaginable how Muhammad was reportedly stabbed, beaten, and set on fire in the woods. DNA was the only way police could identify him. She’d just spoken with family about him this week.
"My sister (in Palestine) was saying, ‘he's so funny, he just left my house.' My kids really love him,” Yusra Abu Khdier said.
Thursday night in Sacramento, other cousins held a vigil for Muhammad.
Friday night, the Los Gatos family will do the same. They’ll gather at Winchester and Stevens Creek in San Jose at 7:30 p.m. to raise awareness of his death, and bring attention to the escalating violence between Israel and Palestine.
“You don’t fix a problem with killing more people. That’s not the way you do it,” Lamya Abu Khdier said.