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Mass joint funeral held for 14 Palestinians in Hebron

Jan. 2, 2016 2:49 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 3, 2016 5:55 P.M.)
HEBRON (Ma’an) -- Thousands of mourners flooded the streets of the occupied West Bank city of Hebron to attend the joint funeral of 14 Palestinians whose bodies were returned by Israel the night before.

The bodies were among 23 handed over by Israeli authorities on Friday night, 17 to the Hebron area, in line with a decision made by Israeli officials to withhold the bodies of Palestinians killed while carrying out attacks on Israelis.

The bodies were carried on the shoulders of their families to the al-Hussein Ibn Ali mosque in city center, where funeral prayers took place. Thousands collectively performed the prayer inside the adjacent al-Hussein football stadium and across city streets, locals told Ma’an.

The procession then marched through Ein Sarah street before reaching the al-Shuhahda (Martyrs) Cemetery, where the 14 were laid to rest.

Elderly participants present told Ma’an they had never before attended a funeral for such a large number of slain Palestinians.

The thousands of mourners attending the funeral shouted slogans as the bodies were carried through the streets, condemning Israel’s conditional releases of the bodies of Palestinians.

Israeli authorities began holding the bodies of Palestinians killed while carrying out attacks on Israeli military or civilians in October.

The practice has not been used with such frequency since the Second Intifada, according to rights group Hamoked, with the bodies of over 80 Palestinians held for various periods of time since the October decision.

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said on Nov. 5 that bodies would be handed over conditionally, with Israeli authorities often demanding that the bodies be buried immediately following their handover and that funerals be limited in attendance.

While the decision to withhold bodies was initially made to prevent mass funerals that “incite” violence against Israel, Yaalon said on Nov. 5. that the policy was not effective in deterring future attacks.

The policy of withholding bodies has sparked outrage among Palestinian communities who view the measure as collective punishment and a violation of their ability to abide by religious tradition. Some families also fear the move could prevent autopsies from being carried out on their relative’s body.

Palestinian leadership has encouraged autopsies be carried out on all Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in the event that the reports could be used to file cases against Israeli authorities at the International Criminal Court.

The bodies of the Hebron-area Palestinians returned Friday underwent autopsy following their handover, according to Hebron’s District Attorney.

They were among over 140 Palestinians to be killed since Oct. 1 by Israeli forces and settlers. The majority were killed while carrying out attacks, the circumstances of many of which are still disputed.

Twenty-one Israelis have been killed in individual Palestinian attacks during the same time period.

A list of the 17 Hebron-area Palestinians whose bodies were returned Friday:
1. Basil Bassam Ragheb Sidr, 20: Shot dead on Oct. 14 after alleged stabbing at the Damascus gate in Jerusalem’s Old city, no Israeli injuries reported.

2. Fadil Abdullah Qawasmi, 18: Shot by Israeli settler on Oct. 17 after allegedly attempting to stab the settler on al-Shuhada street in Hebron’s Old City.

3. Hamzeh Moussa al-Imla, 25: Shot on Oct. 20 after carrying out a vehicular attack that injured two Israeli soldiers at the Gush Etzion junction.

4. Saad Muhammad Youssef al-Atrash, 19: Shot on Oct. 26 after attempting to stab a soldier at the Ibrahimi mosque in Hebron’s Old City.

5. Shadi Nabil al-Qudsi, 22: Shot on Oct. 27 after reportedly stabbing and injuring an Israeli soldier at the Gush Etzion junction.

6. Izz al-Din Nadi Abu Shkheidem, 19: Shot on Oct. 27 after reportedly stabbing and injuring an Israeli soldier at the Gush Etzion junction.

7. Humaam Adnan al-Saeed, 23: Shot on Oct. 27 in the Tel Rumeida area of Hebron’s Old City after allegedly attempting to stab an Israeli soldier.

8. Islam Rafiq Hammad Ibeido, 23: Shot on Oct. 28 after reportedly attempting to stab an Israeli soldier near the illegal Kiryat Arba settlement in Hebron.

9. Mahdi Muhammad al-Muhtaseb, 23: Shot on Oct. 29 after stabbing and injuring an Israeli soldier near the Ibrahimi mosque in Hebron’s Old City.

10. Farouq Abd al-Qadir Sider, 19: Shot on Oct. 19 after allegedly attempting to stab an Israeli soldier in al-Shuhada street in Hebron’s Old City.

11. Fadi Hassan al-Froukh: Shot on Nov. 1 after allegedly attempting to stab an Israeli soldier in Beit Einun near Hebron.

12. Malik Talal al-Shareef, 25: Shot on Nov. 5 after allegedly attempting to stab an Israeli soldier at the Gush Etzion junction.

13. Mustafa Fadhil Fanoon, 15: Shot on Dec. 4 after reportedly stabbing and moderately wounding an Israeli soldier in Hebron’s Tel Rumeida area.

14. Ibah Fathi Miswadeh, 21: Shot on Dec. 7 after stabbing an Israeli settler outside of the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron’s Old city.

15. Omar Arafat Issa al-Zaaqiq, 19: Shot on Nov. 27 after injuring two soldiers in vehicular attack in Beit Ummar north of Hebron.

16. Taher Faysal Fannoun, 19: Shot on Dec. 4 after reportedly stabbing and moderately wounding an Israeli soldier in Hebron’s Tel Rumeida area.

17. Abd al-Rahman Miswadeh: Shot on Dec. 7 after stabbing and injuring two Israelis in Hebron’s Old City.
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