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Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Israel returns bodies of Palestinians recently killed by occupation forces

AFP , Saturday 17 Dec 2016
File Photo of Palestinian mourners carry the body of a 22 year-old during his funeral in the West Bank village of Sa'ir, near Hebron. (Photo: AP)
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Israel handed Palestinian authorities the bodies of seven Palestinians killed carrying reportedly out attacks, or during clashes or arrests over a period spanning six months, the army said Friday.

The move was "in accordance with government directives," a military spokeswoman told AFP, and came a week after the Israel government informed the High Court it would be willing to return seven out of 10 bodies of Palestinians from the West Bank that it had been holding.

The remaining three were not to be returned at this point because they were allegedly affiliated with the Islamist resistance Hamas movement.

Four of the Palestinians whose bodies were returned Friday came from the Hebron area of the occupied West Bank, a focal point in the recent wave of attacks, with the other three hailing from the Tulkarem and Nablus areas to the north.

One body belonged to a man suspected of criminal activity who was shot dead by Israeli occupation forces in September, and another assaulted Israeli soldiers during a riot in October, the spokeswoman said.

The other five -- one of them a woman -- were Palestinians who had either attempted to or succeeded in carrying out stabbing or car-ramming attacks on Israeli occupation forces or civilians since June, according to the spokeswoman.

A wave of Palestinian knife, gun and car-ramming attacks erupted last year amid Israeli attacks on Al-Aqsa mosque and Palestinian demonstrations, but the violence has greatly subsided in recent months.

Since October 2015, 243 Palestinians, 36 Israelis, two Americans, a Jordanian, an Eritrean and a Sudanese have been killed, according to an AFP count.

Many of the Palestinians killed were carrying out knife, gun or car-ramming attacks.

Most were shot dead during protests or clashes, while some died in Israeli air strikes on Gaza. 

Many analysts say Palestinian frustration with the Israeli occupation and illegal settlement-building in the West Bank, comatose peace efforts and their own fractured leadership have helped feed the unrest.

Since the start of the wave of violence, Israeli forces have confiscated the bodies of killed Palestinians, often for several months, as a means of deterrence and to prevent clashes during funerals.

Under former defence minister Moshe Yaalon, the occupation army had started to return the bodies to try to reduce tension.

His successor Avigdor Lieberman ordered a resumption of the policy in June, but apparently modified it to apply only to those affiliated to militant groups.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online

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