News24

'Dead' Gaza teen returns home

2010-04-04 22:18

Gaza City - A Palestinian teenager who went missing near the Gaza border last week and was believed to have been killed by Israeli troops has returned home safe after being detained in Egypt, he said on Sunday.

Mohammed al-Faramawi, 15, said he had gone with some friends to Gaza's defunct airport near the borders with Israel and Egypt last Monday "for fun" when they found a smuggling tunnel to Egypt and crawled through it.

They were promptly arrested by Egyptian security forces on the other side and held for several days.

"I didn't know when they announced my death because I was under arrest," Faramawi told AFP. "I didn't find out until I returned on Saturday. When I arrived there were hundreds of people there to welcome me home."

On Tuesday, the day after he disappeared, Palestinian medics and media reported he had been shot dead by Israeli forces near the border.

Zeidan al-Faramawi, 42, Mohammed's father, was worried sick when he heard his son was killed.

"When my son's death was announced on the radio and on television on Tuesday I immediately went to the hospital in Rafah, but they didn't have the body," he told AFP. "Every time an ambulance arrived I ran to see if he was inside."

Over the next few days neighbours told the father of six to let go and hold a funeral, while he frantically contacted different hospitals and the Red Crescent Society for any information.

When he received word on Saturday that his son had been detained by Egypt and would soon be released, he held his joy back. "I refused to believe them until I could see him in front of me."