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Israel recognizes slain Jerusalem youth as 'victim of terrorism'

July 17, 2014 5:25 P.M. (Updated: July 18, 2014 11:41 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Israeli Ministry of Defense on Thursday recognized a slain Palestinian youth from Jerusalem as a "victim of terrorism" after his brutal murder by right-wing Jewish extremists.

Muhammad Abu Khdeir, 16, was forced into a car near the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Shufat, covered into gasoline, and burned to death by three Jewish youths on July 2, in what was suspected to be a revenge attack for the kidnapping and death of three Jewish youths the month before.

The Ministry of Defense said in a statement that it recognized the "murder ... as a terrorist attack."

"The decision was made as a result of the indictment brought today against the defendants in the murder of the youth, and the findings from the investigation which point to the nationalistic motive of his murder," the statement said.

The three youths accused of the killing have admitted to carrying out the crime, police say.

As a resident of East Jerusalem, which has been occupied by Israel since 1967 but which the country considers part of its territory since a 1980 annexation not recognized by the international community, Abu Khdeir holds Israeli residency but not citizenship.

He is one of the few Palestinians recognized as a "victim of terrorism" by Israel, as the majority of anti-Palestinian violence in the West Bank or Gaza goes unreported or prosecuted by Israeli authorities.

The killing of Abu Khdeir set off days of rioting in East Jerusalem, and underscored a wave of anti-Palestinian violence across Israel in recent months.
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