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Family buries son after 88 days in Israeli morgue

Jan. 6, 2016 10:13 A.M. (Updated: Jan. 6, 2016 1:47 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Thousands of Palestinians attended the funeral of 19-year-old Muhammad Saed Ali east of Jerusalem on Tuesday after the Israeli authorities released his body 88 days after he was shot dead when he stabbed two Israeli soldiers.

Muhammad's mother told Ma'an: "I hugged my son after he was held three months in the Israeli morgue. I hugged him, talked to him, warmed him, and forgave him."

Ali, who lived in Shuafat refugee camp in occupied East Jerusalem, was shot dead on Oct. 10 after he stabbed one Israeli soldier in the neck and another in the upper body outside Damascus Gate in Jerusalem's Old City.

Video footage was later released showing the moment Ali drew a knife on the Israeli soldiers when they asked to see his identification.

The funeral procession set off from Abo Obaida mosque to the village of Anata east of Jerusalem, where he was buried in the village cemetery.

The Israeli authorities had laid down a number of conditions for the funeral, including that he be buried in Anata, which lies on the other side of Israel's separation wall from Shuafat refugee camp where Ali lived.

Israel also demanded that he be buried on the night his body was released, a demand flouted by his family. "Thank God that we did not obey the Israelis rules," Ali's mother said. "I hugged Muhammad from 3 a.m. to 9 a.m., and thousands attended his funeral."

She added: "They handed him as if he was out of jail. My heart is full of joy and there is no place in it for pain."

Since a wave of unrest swept the occupied Palestinian territory at the beginning of October, Israel has held the bodies of dozens of Palestinians it says were attempting to attack Israelis.

Israel's Public Security Ministry said in mid-October that the bodies of alleged Palestinians attackers would no longer be returned to their families in order to stem protests that frequently accompany the funerals of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces.

However, Israel's withholding of bodies has only raised tensions across the occupied Palestinian territory, and Israeli authorities have since returned many of them of them to their families, on what they refer to as a "case-by-case" basis.

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