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Hundreds attend funeral of Palestinian killed after alleged stab attack

March 19, 2016 5:18 P.M. (Updated: March 20, 2016 12:50 P.M.)

HEBRON (Ma’an) -- Hundreds of Palestinians attended a funeral held in Hebron on Saturday for a Palestinian man who was shot dead by Israeli troops after allegedly attempting to carry out a stabbing attack at the Gush Etzion junction on Friday.

Mourners marched from al-Ahli hospital as the body of Mahmud Ahmad Abu Fanunah, 21, was carried in a vehicle to the family home in the Wadi al-Hariyya neighborhood.

The body was then carried to Abu Eisha mosque, where hundreds performed the funeral prayer before Abu Fanunah was laid to rest in the neighborhood cemetery.

“It is obvious the Israeli occupation insists on killing Palestinians in cold blood,” the governor of Hebron, Kamil Hmeid, said during the funeral.

Abu Fanunah was shot dead after allegedly attempting to carry out a stabbing attack at the Gush Etzion junction, shortly after two Palestinians were detained on suspicions of planning an attack in the illegal Shaare Benjamin settlement.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma'an that an "assailant armed with a knife exited his vehicle and charged at soldiers" at the Gush Etzion junction southwest of Bethlehem, with soldiers opening fire, killing the man and "foiling" the alleged attack.

Witnesses disputed the army’s account of the incident and told Ma’an that Abu Fanunah was “not holding anything in his hands” when Israeli forces opened fire, killing him on the spot.

No Israeli injuries were reported.

The location of Abu Fanunah’s killing has been the site of a number of deaths since a surge of violence increased in the occupied Palestinian territory last October.

More than 10 Palestinians and three Israelis have been killed at the Gush Etzion junction -- the entrance point to the illegal Gush Etzion settlement bloc.

Over 200 Palestinians and just under 30 Israelis have been killed since October, and attempts to quell the violence by the international community have subsequently failed.

Another young Palestinian man from Hebron was killed between the time Abu Fanunah was shot and buried, shot dead after allegedly stabbing and lightly injuring a soldier in the face.

Israeli forces shut down a number of roads in the Hebron area following the incident.

US and Israeli officials have criticized Palestinian leadership for failing to condemn a number of attacks carried out by Palestinian individuals -- the majority of which have been carried out on military targets -- while critics say Israel has practiced a policy of extrajudicial executions of Palestinians.

Earlier this year, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon condemned the wave of attacks, but said that Israeli security measures were failing to "address the profound sense of alienation and despair driving some Palestinians -- especially young people."

He added: "As oppressed peoples have demonstrated throughout the ages, it is human nature to react to occupation, which often serves as a potent incubator of hate and extremism."
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