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Israeli forces return body of 24-year-old Palestinian shot dead last month

Feb. 5, 2017 10:15 A.M. (Updated: Feb. 5, 2017 6:50 P.M.)
(File)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities returned the body of 24-year-old Hussein Abu Ghush on Saturday evening, after holding his body since Jan. 25, when Israeli forces shot him dead for allegedly attempting to carry out a vehicular attack.

Abu Ghush's body was returned to his family outside of Israel's Ofer detention center in Beituniya west of Ramallah in the central occupied West Bank.

After the bereaved father confirmed the body was his son's, a Palestinian ambulance delivered the body to the Palestine medical complex in Ramallah in the presence of dozens of family members.

His funeral is expected to take place later Sunday afternoon.

Abu Ghush, from Qalandiya refugee camp in the Ramallah district, was killed by Israeli soldiers after he allegedly attempted a car-ramming attack at a bus-stop near Kochav Yaakov, an illegal Israeli settlement directly southeast of Ramallah.

At the time of Abu Ghush’s death, an Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that "in response to the immediate threat, Israeli forces fired at the assailant, resulting in his death," further claiming that Israeli soldiers found a knife in the Palestinian's vehicle.

No Israelis were injured in the incident.

Witnesses had told Ma'an that Israeli soldiers left the young man bleeding on the ground until he died, before putting him in a black body bag and putting him into a military vehicle headed towards Jerusalem.

At the time of his death, Abu Ghush was the seventh out of now eight Palestinians to have been killed by Israeli forces in 2017. Six Israelis have been killed by Palestinians during the same time period.

Amid an increase in violence since October 2015, Israeli authorities dramatically escalated a policy of withholding Palestinian bodies killed by Israeli forces, claiming that funerals of Palestinians had provided grounds for “incitement” against the Israeli state.

However, the majority of bodies of Palestinians slain by Israeli forces have since been returned to their families, despite the Israeli security cabinet deciding in January that bodies of Palestinians affiliated with the Hamas movement who were killed while carrying out attacks against Israelis would be withheld indefinitely.

A joint statement released by Addameer and Israeli minority rights group Adalah last March condemned Israel’s practice of withholding bodies as "a severe violation of international humanitarian law as well as international human rights law, including violations of the right to dignity, freedom of religion, and the right to practice culture."

PLO official Saeb Erekat has also urged the international community to pressure Israel to release Palestinian bodies held by Israeli, saying: "Israel's collective punishments are now being carried out against the living and the dead."
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