Israel Releases Bodies of 5 Killed Palestinians, Mourners Converge for Funeral

HEBRON, October 31, 2015 (WAFA) – As Israeli authorities released the bodies of five Palestinians, who were killed by Israeli forces following alleged stabbing attempts over the last month in Hebron, tens of thousands of Palestinians Saturday attended their joint funeral procession.

The bodies of the five Palestinians were moved from Hebron Governmental Hospital to their houses, where family members and relatives paid their last respects.

The funeral procession left from al-Hussein Ibn ‘Ali Mosque in the Hebron neighborhood of ‘Ein Sarah after funeral prayers, headed toward Ash-Shuhada cemetery.

The five were identified as Dania Irsheid al-Husseini, 17, Bayan al-‘Essili, 16, Tariq al-Natsha,16, Hussam al-Ja‘bari,17, and Bashar al-Ja‘bari,15.

Mourners raised the Palestinian flag and shouted slogans condemning the Israeli cold-blooded killings of Palestinians, urging Palestinian factions to unite in order to confront Israeli occupation and demanding immediate international protection.

Among the mourners were Hebron Governor Kamel Hmaid together with a host of former and current members of parliament, members of Palestinian Central Council, heads of security services and representatives of Palestinian factions and parties.

This came a day after the bodies of the five Palestinians were handed over to the Palestinian side by Israeli forces.

Israel has withheld the majority of the bodies of those allegedly involved in stabbing attacks against Israelis since the beginning of October.

The majority of the bodies – 15 – are from Hebron.

Israel’s policy to withhold their bodies – which came as part of a series of stringent security measures taken against Palestinians – was widely slammed as “collective punishment” and “violation of human rights”.

Similarly, thousands of mourners attended Friday night the funeral procession of Mu‘taz Qassem, 22, in al-Eizariya town, east of Jerusalem.

Qassem was shot dead by Israeli forces on October 21 purportedly for attempting to stab two Israeli soldiers on Jaba‘ roundabout, near Jaba‘ town, north of Jerusalem.

Qassem’s body was delivered by Israeli forces Friday evening to the Palestinian Red Crescent Association at the eastern entrance of al-Eizariya before the body was transferred to Abu Dis.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Palestinians in Beit Fajjar, south of Bethlehem, marched in the funeral procession of an eight-month-old infant who died from tear gas inhalation during clashes a day earlier.

Ramadan Thawabta died after inhaling tear gas as clashes erupted nearby between Palestinians and Israeli forces on Friday.

The funeral procession left from Beit Jala Governmental Hospital to his family’s house in Beit Fajjar, where family and relatives paid their last respects before proceeding to the village cemetery.