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Umm al-Fahm buries 3 Al-Aqsa assailants after Israel releases bodies

July 27, 2017 10:44 A.M. (Updated: July 27, 2017 5:30 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Palestinian citizens of Israel buried three residents of the town of Umm al-Fahm, who were killed while carrying out a deadly shooting attack on July 14, on Wednesday night after Israeli authorities decided to return their bodies to their families.

Muhammad Ahmad Muhammad Jabarin, 29, Muhammad Hamid Abd al-Latif Jabarin, 19, and Muhammad Ahmad Mufdal Jabarin, 19, were killed by Israeli forces after shooting and killing two Israeli border policemen at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem.

The event triggered an unprecedented Israeli security crackdown at Al-Aqsa, sparking nearly two weeks of escalating unrest during which seven Palestinians and three Israelis were killed.

The Israeli Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday to release the Jabarins’ bodies, in what was seen as a possibly precedent-setting case.

Thousands of Umm al-Fahm residents gathered in front of the Jabarins’ family homes for a funeral procession after Israeli authorities returned the bodies around midnight.

Thousands performed funeral prayers at the al-Faruq mosque in Umm al-Fahm, before burying the three young men in the al-Malsaa neighborhood cemetery.

The court had agreed to release the three bodies while stating that Israeli police could set conditions regarding how many people were allowed to attend the funerals and at what time they could be held.

Legal NGO Adalah had reported on Tuesday that Israeli police was ready to return the bodies under specific conditions, including a 75,000-shekel ($20,996) fine to be paid by the families of the three suspects, a complete media ban, barring Knesset members and other public figures from attending, and a restricted number of total attendees.

However, it remained unclear as of Thursday morning which of these conditions had finally been imposed.

Israeli authorities dramatically escalated a policy of withholding Palestinian bodies killed by Israeli forces following the emergence of a wave of unrest across the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel in October 2015, having repeatedly claimed that funerals of Palestinians had provided grounds for “incitement” against the Israeli state.

Following uproar among Palestinians over the policy, and recommendations by Israeli security officials who stated that the policy was not effective, Israeli authorities began scaling down the practice.

However, Israel’s security cabinet said in January that the bodies of Palestinians allegedly affiliated to the Hamas movement would not be returned to their families, as Israel considers the bodies to be a bargaining chip that could be used in a future exchange deal with Hamas.
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