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Hundreds gather for funeral of 18-year-old Palestinian killed during Israeli army raid

July 14, 2017 3:25 P.M. (Updated: July 16, 2017 3:09 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Hundreds of Palestinians gathered on Friday in the Bethlehem area in the southern occupied West Bank to mourn 18-year-old Baraa Hamamda, who was killed earlier in the day during an Israeli army raid in the al-Duheisha refugee camp.

Crowds carried Hamamda’s body from the Beit Jala governmental hospital, after it was determined that Hamamda had been shot in the upper chest, to al-Duheisha, where his family bid their final farewells.

Following noon prayers, a funeral procession took place from the al-Duheisha mosque to the Shuhada cemetery in the neighboring village of Artas, where Hamamda was buried.

Participants chanted slogans demanding revenge for the 18-year-old’s death, while the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) offered its condolences.

The teenager succumbed in the hospital to wounds sustained in his upper body when Israeli forces raided the refugee camp on Friday morning seeking to detain two residents and fired live bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at al-Duheisha residents out protesting the raid.

Baraa Hamamda

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma'an that during a detention raid in al-Duheisha, Palestinians threw "explosive devices and blocks" at Israeli forces, who then fired towards the youth. They said that the army was “examining” reports that a Palestinian had been killed.

Locals told Ma’an that Hamamda had been preparing to enter his last year in high school in the fall.

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) released a statement mourning the death of Hamamda, who was reportedly affiliated to the leftist faction. 

"Today, Bethlehem and Dheisheh lose a brave hero who, despite his young age, disturbed the rest of the occupation as he clashed with occupation forces at the entrances to the city of Bethlehem and during multiple invasions of al-Duheisha camp. The occupation sought him for arrest more than once and he was injured on several occasions by occupation forces."

The group denounced Israeli forces for conducting a "criminal campaign of attacks and arrests against the cadres of the Popular Front in al-Duheisha camp, the village of Deir Abu Mashaal, and elsewhere in the occupied West Bank amid continuous targeting of its leaders." 

The statement said the campaign also came "when the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque are witnessing a bold and courageous operation targeting armed Israeli occupation forces." Three Palestinian citizens of Israel were shot dead within hours of Hamamda's killing for carrying out a shooting attack at the mosque that left two Israeli police officers killed.

The two incident raised the toll of Palestinians killed by Israelis in 2017 to 43.

"This action confirms that the flame of resistance continues to burn and that the occupation’s policies of attacks, killings, arrests, home demolitions, land confiscation, and targeting of cadres will never quench that fire of resistance," the PFLP wrote.

According to Ma’an documentation, 18 of these slain Palestinians were younger than 20 years old at the time of their deaths, and 14 were killed during army raids or clashes.

Most recently, two young Palestinians -- 17-year-old Aws Muhammad Salameh and 20-year-old Saad Nasser Salah -- were killed by Israeli forces in circumstances similar to Hamamda during an overnight raid in Jenin refugee camp on Wednesday.

Ten Israelis have been killed by Palestinians during the same time period.

Israeli raids in Palestinian towns, villages, and refugee camps are a daily occurrence in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Due to the typically aggressive nature of the raids, clashes often erupt between local Palestinian youth who throw stones and are met in response with live fire, rubber-coated steel bullets, and tear gas, often resulting in serious, sometimes fatal, injuries.
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