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Israeli authorities return bodies of brother and sister shot dead at Qalandiya

May 22, 2016 11:52 A.M. (Updated: May 23, 2016 8:43 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- Israeli authorities on Monday morning returned the bodies of Maram Salih Hassan Abu Ismail and her brother Ibrahim who were shot dead by Israeli forces at the Qalandiya military checkpoint between Jerusalem and Ramallah in the occupied West Bank on April 27.

Sources in the Palestinian Civil Affairs Committee told Ma'an the bodies were returned at Ofer detention center, which is illegally built on private Palestinian lands in the towns of Beituniya and Rafat. Only ambulances were allowed to enter the detention center and bring the bodies.

Maram, a pregnant mother of two, and her teenage brother Ibrahim were shot and killed at the notorious Qalandiya checkpoint last month, after they allegedly threw a knife in the direction of Israeli forces.

However, witnesses at the scene said the two siblings posed no threat at the time the Israeli officer killed them, as they mistakenly entered the wrong part of the checkpoint and did not understand Israeli soldiers speaking to them in Hebrew.

The Israeli Justice Ministry’s police investigation into the killings was dropped after it was revealed a privately contracted security guard had killed Maram and Ibrahim, rather than a police officer as had previously been thought.

The funeral procession started from the Palestinian Medical Complex towards the siblings’ home town of Qatuna, where thousands were waiting to receive the bodies, which were taken to their family’s home before being buried in the town cemetery.

The family had initially requested autopsies to be made, but but changed their mind after learning that the process would take between two to three days, requesting instead that doctors make CAT scans of the bodies.

Maram and Ibrahim Abu Ismail were among more than 200 Palestinians to be killed by Israeli forces or settlers since October, the majority during alleged or attempted small-scale attacks that have left nearly 30 Israelis dead.

UN investigations have shown that, in a number of instances since the unrest began, Israeli forces have implemented a policy of extrajudicial execution, shooting dead Palestinians who did not present imminent threat at the time of their death.

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