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Palestinian killed by Israeli police during Negev funeral

Jan. 19, 2015 10:17 A.M. (Updated: Jan. 19, 2015 7:49 P.M.)
RAHAT (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian Bedouin man was killed late Sunday during the funeral for another man shot dead last week by Israeli forces in southern Israel.

Sami Ibrahim Zayadna, 45, died after inhaling tear gas fired by Israeli police at mourners in the Bedouin city of Rahat. Over 40 other people were injured during the clashes, including Rahat mayor Talal al-Qureinawi and Raed Salah, head of the Islamic Movement.

Twenty-two people were treated at Soroka hospital in Beersheba, with three sustaining serious injuries.

The clashes began after Israeli police entered the cemetery as mourners were burying Sami al-Jaar, 22, who was shot dead last week while standing on the patio of his home during clashes between police and local youths in the neighborhood.

Israeli police entered the funeral ceremony, despite an agreement with Rahat municipality to stay clear of the area, and fired plastic bullets and tear gas at mourners as Raed Salah was delivering a eulogy.

"The funeral has become a battle from one side as we were being chased and dozens were hurt though there were no clashes in the place," Salah told Ma'an.

"When I uttered the first sentence of the funeral oration a tear gas canister was fired in front of us. We thought it was fired accidentally, but showers of tear gas followed. It was clear they wanted to disperse the mourners before they could bid the martyr farewell and I think the officers on the ground were receiving instructions from the helicopter which was hovering above the mourners focusing its lights on us."

An Israeli police vehicle also deliberately rammed vehicles parked near the cemetery, he added.

The Higher Guidance Committee of Arab Residents of the Negev denounced what it labeled "state terrorism."

"We hereby tell the Israeli security organizations that your terror won't scare us and we won't hesitate to live in dignity despite your mean attempts and plans day and night to impose restrictions on us seeking to displace us. Save your bullets and your terror because we have already made our minds … we will stay here as long as there is thyme and olive oil," the group said.

A leadership committee announced a general strike on Tuesday in all Palestinians towns and neighborhoods in Israel, in addition to a general strike in Rahat on Monday.
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