‘A really good, happy kid’

In his hometown of Beit Ur al-Tahta, hundreds gathered at the town hall to mourn for Mahmoud.

By
June 22, 2016 01:55
2 minute read.
Mahmoud Badran, the Palestinian killed by the IDF

Mahmoud Badran, the Palestinian killed by the IDF. (photo credit: PALESTINIAN SOCIAL MEDIA)

 
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Mahmoud Badran played football. He rooted for Real Madrid. He wanted to be a doctor.

The 15-year-old Palestinian high schooler died last night after IDF soldiers shot at the vehicle in which he and several friends were driving home from a late-night swim in Beit Sira.

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The soldiers were responding to reports of stone-throwing and slick oil on Route 443. Mahmoud was apparently uninvolved, said the IDF spokesperson earlier today.

An uncle, Fauzi, trembled when describing his nephew. “It’s hard, it hurts a lot,” he said, tearing up. The family didn’t sleep all last night, he added.

“He was just a really good, happy kid,” Fauzi said, gesturing at the adjacent field. “Just yesterday I saw him playing there.”

Mahmoud studied at a private high school, Nour Eluhouda, in the town nextover. He loved technology and English class.

Mahmoud’s father, Rafat, shook as he spoke about his recently deceased eldest son, connecting him to a long list of martyrs, both civilians and militants.

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“How can soldiers shoot at kids,” Rafat asked, pounding.The army still had his body as of press time, he added.

His son loved the television show Selfie on MBC, the Nickelodeon channel of the Arab world. And he enjoyed mimicking rap lyrics.

His younger brother, Miled, 13, was in a state of shock.

“He thinks that we’re all lying about Mahmoud dying,” said Fauzi.

The two would play FIFA for hours on their PlayStation, Miled said. And as a die-hard fan of FC Barcelona, the two brothers would bicker non-stop over games and goals.

The mother, Amal, sat sequestered in the house, unwilling to venture outside. And Mahmoud’s sister, Lojean, 9, stayed with her.

Best friend, Hadi, 16, was with Mahmoud last night. He limped over in a sling, arm broken.

They went swimming at around 10 p.m., Hadi said.

They were goofing around after having finished their day-long Ramadan fast. As they drove home, soldiers on a bridge starting firing bullets.

“I felt fear. I didn’t know what was happening,” Hadi said. Two bullets landed on Hadi’s hand and lower chest. And then he saw his friend.

“I knew he died right away. I saw it in his eyes.”

In his hometown of Beit Ur al-Tahta, hundreds gathered at the town hall to mourn for Mahmoud.

A neighbor Ahmed Abu-Hassan recounted how Mahmoud “was always playing football next-door.”

And Rafat, who works for the Palestinian Authority, blamed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his son’s death.

“I want true peace. But I don’t want the fake peace of Netanyahu and [Avigdor] Lieberman. Bibi is a demagogue.”

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