Palestinian killed after being shot by Israeli soldiers at his own cousin's funeral in West Bank

The man's body was carried through his village while mourners looked on

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The Independent Online

A Palestinian man was killed and about a dozen were wounded in clashes with Israeli soldiers during his cousin’s funeral in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian officials said yesterday.

Ziad Awad, 27, was shot in the lower back after his relative’s burial. He was taken to Al Ahli Hospital in Hebron in critical condition before dying there of his wounds.

His body – with face uncovered – was carried through the village of Beit Ummar while hundreds of mourners surrounded him to cry and pray after the successive deaths of two young men.

Another 10 people were being treated for minor injuries, an anonymous doctor told Associated Press. An Israeli army spokesperson claimed only rubber bullets were fired, which contradicts Palestinians’ assertions that live bullets were also used.

 

The funeral of Ziad’s cousin was attended by hundreds of people. Jafaar Awad had died from an illness three months after being released early from an Israeli prison.

His family said his death was caused by medical neglect in the Beersheba prison in southern Israel. He was given an injection in jail that left him weak and ill, they claim – to which the Israeli prison service denies responsibility.

Israeli soldiers, who were observing the funeral from watchtowers before Ziad was shot dead, claimed that they used force as they feared being killed by Palestinians throwing rocks and firebombs as well as rolling burning tires towards them.

jafaar-awad-palestine-hospital.jpg
Jafaar with his mother while in hospital following release from prison

The specific reasons as to why Palestinian mourners would turn on the Israeli military during the funeral are not yet confirmed.

Previous deaths in the hands of soldiers occurred during, or in protest of, overbearing surveillance and Israeli forces razing homes and businesses to the ground to make way for settlements.

Hundreds of long-standing olive and almond trees have been uprooted and set ablaze by Israeli settlers this year. Almost a million of them have been destroyed since the 1967 Israeli settlement policy was started.

Troops asserted that they used tear gas at first during the funeral, but fired low-caliber bullets at the legs of four men after, they said, they felt their lives were in danger.

A 32-year-old Palestinian stabbed two Israeli soldiers outside a West Bank settlement on Wednesday before he was killed by one of the soldiers.

The United Nations released a statement calling for calm and restraint. The statement expressed “sympathy for the victims” of violence in the past week.

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