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Hundreds attend funeral of slain Palestinian American teen

March 2, 2016 1:57 P.M. (Updated: March 2, 2016 7:44 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Hundreds of Palestinians from the Deir Dibwan neighborhood west of Ramallah on Wednesday attended the funeral of a Palestinian American teenager who was shot dead by Israeli forces last month after allegedly attempting to carry out a stabbing.

Mahmoud Muhammad Shaalan, 17, was killed on Feb. 26 after he allegedly attempted to stab an Israeli soldier stationed at a military checkpoint near the illegal settlement of Beit El.

His body was returned the following day, but his funeral was delayed until his father could return from the US. Shaalan's entire family had US citizenship.

The funeral procession set off from the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah, making its way to the neighborhood of Deir Dibwan, where he was laid to rest in the local cemetery.

Shaalan's brother said he had returned to die in Palestine -- "the place he always loved."

Following the alleged stabbing attack, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said his body was "riddled with bullets." No Israelis were wounded, and Shaalan's family has reportedly asked the US consulate in Jerusalem to open an investigation into the teenager's death.

More than a sixth of the 180 Palestinians killed since a wave of unrest swept the occupied Palestinian territory in October have been under the age of 18 -- including two more 17-year-old boys shot dead after an alleged attack on a settler on Wednesday morning.

The majority of of those killed were shot while attempting to carry out attacks on Israeli military targets or inside Israeli settlements, although Amnesty International has said that a number of these appear to have been killed "unlawfully."

The rights group highlighted cases where Israeli forces fatally shot Palestinians attempting to carry out attacks in "circumstances where they were not posing an imminent threat to life and could have been apprehended."

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