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Clashes break out after 13-year-old's funeral in Bethlehem, 10 injured

Oct. 6, 2015 1:20 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 6, 2015 10:44 P.M.)
(MaanImages/Emily Mulder)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces shot and injured 10 Palestinians with rubber-coated steel bullets on Tuesday as fierce clashes broke out in Bethlehem following the funeral of a 13-year-old boy who was shot dead by Israeli forces the day before.

Two Palestinians were hit in their head with rubber-coated steel bullets and were rushed to hospital for treatment, medics told Ma'an.

Hospital staff said that initial reports that three Palestinians were shot with live rounds were incorrect.

Hundreds took part in the funeral procession of Abed al-Rahman Obeidallah, 13, who was shot in his chest while returning home from school in Aida refugee camp on Monday afternoon.

A Ma'an reporter said that up to 1,200 mourners marched behind a Palestinian military vehicle that carried the child's body from Beit Jala Hospital to his family's home in Aida refugee camp.

The procession traveled across a road that once served as the main route between the southern West Bank and Jerusalem, before Israel's separation wall cut it off.

Every business on the stretch of road had shut their doors for the day to mourn the community's lost child.

Many mourners waved Palestinian flags, as well as those of different military groups.

A large number cried out slogans against the Israeli occupation and pledged to take revenge for Obeidallah's death.

The Palestinian Authority honored the boy with a full military funeral, and members of the armed wings of Fatah, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and Hamas were in attendance.

'He never came home'

Male relatives gathered around the local mosque, while more than a hundred women came together in the courtyard of the UN school where Obeidallah was a student.

Obeidallah's mother, who medics told Ma'an nearly fainted during the funeral procession, could barely speak through her grief.

"He went to school and never came home," she said as she choked back tears.

His aunt, Manal Obeidallah, told Ma'an there would be no life without her nephew.

"How can you live after one that you watched grow up, one that you raised, is killed in cold blood," she asked.

After the family bid their final farewells, the funeral procession made its way to an Islamic cemetery near Rachel's Tomb, where mourning turned to anger.

The chants of the young men carrying the body of Obeidallah and the hundreds that surrounded the boy turned from the routine politically charged protest slogans, to disjointed angry bellowing.

They urged Palestinian resistance groups to retaliate the Israeli "crime."

(MaanImages/Emily Mulder)

'Son of Palestine'

Sami Rumi, an older man from Bethlehem who attended the funeral said he did not know Obeidallah or his family, but that he was compelled to come say farewell to the 13-year-old.

"When something like this happens we can say the boy is all our sons," Rumi said. "He is the son of Palestine and a martyr of Palestine. The world may not care but he is the most important thing in the world for any of us today."

After the boy was laid to rest, community leaders gave speeches about the child's death.

One of the speakers likened Obeidallah's death to last year's killing of 16-year-old Muhammad Abu Khdeir, and 18-month-old Ali Dawabsha's, both of whom were burned alive during Israeli attacks.

Obdeillah was the second Palestinian to be killed in 12 hours, after an 18-year-old Palestinian was shot dead during clashes in Tulkarem overnight Sunday.

On Monday evening, a Red Crescent spokeswoman told Ma'an that at least 500 Palestinians had been injured in fierce clashes that have swept across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

At least 41 Palestinians were shot with live rounds, while 143 were injured by rubber-coated steel bullets.

The PLO has warned that attacks by both Israeli soldiers and settlers indicated "the Israeli government is deliberately creating a situation of violence and instability that threatens to spiral out of control."
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