Gay Palestinian Man Under Asylum in Israel Beheaded in Palestinian Territory

Young Palestinians at the border between the West Bank and Israel (Getty Images)

A gay Palestinian man who was living under asylum in Israel was allegedly kidnapped and brought to the West Bank, where he was beheaded Wednesday, according to Israeli media reports.

Ahmad Abu Murkhiyeh, 25, had reportedly been living in Israel for two years and seeking resettlement to Canada because of threats to his life over his sexual orientation. But on Wednesday, Abu Murkhiyeh was beheaded in the West Bank city of Hebron. The victim's friends told media outlets he was kidnapped from Israel and taken to the Palestinian city, though his family said he regularly visited them in Hebron.

Palestinian authorities arrested a suspect in the killing, who allegedly filmed the grisly murder and posted it to social media.

Rita Petrenko, founder of an Arab LGBT nonprofit, said she had helped arrange Abu Murkhiyeh's asylum papers. In comments to the Times of Israel, she contradicted the victim's family's claims that he regularly visited Hebron, saying that to her knowledge Abu Murkhiyeh had not willingly returned to the West Bank since his asylum, out of fear of violence from family members and local residents.

A spokesman for the Palestinian police described the murder as a "new kind of crime in Palestine."

Roughly 90 LGBT Palestinians live in Israel seeking asylum, according to the Times of Israel.