Palestinians clash with Israeli soldiers at funerals

2015-10-31 15:36
A woman cries after taking the last look at the body of a teenager during his funeral in Hebron. (Nasser Nasser, AP)

A woman cries after taking the last look at the body of a teenager during his funeral in Hebron. (Nasser Nasser, AP)

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Hebron - Violence broke out in the flashpoint West Bank city of Hebron on Saturday as Palestinians buried five teenagers killed in a wave of attacks and clashes with Israeli forces.

The funerals came as Israeli border guards shot dead a suspected Palestinian knife attacker at a checkpoint between the West Bank and Israel after he tried to stab one of them, police said.

The surge of unrest since early October has triggered fears of a third Palestinian intifada, or uprising, against Israeli occupation by a generation gripped by despair and anger over stalled peace efforts.

Five teenagers

Nine Israelis, 66 Palestinians and an Arab Israeli have been killed since a wave of attacks and violent clashes broke out a month ago in Jerusalem.

The violence has spread to the West Bank, with daily attacks on Israeli soldiers and protests and also to the Gaza Strip where demonstrators have clashed with Israeli forces along the borders of the blockaded coastal enclave.

Thousands of Palestinian mourners gathered for the funerals of the five teenagers, including two girls, in Hebron, a powder-keg in the decades-old Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

They waved Palestinian flags and chanted "we will die but Palestine will live on".

Clashes broke out between Palestinian stone throwers and Israeli soldiers as the funerals got underway.

One Palestinian was buried separately in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem while another was laid to rest in the West Bank town of Jenin on Friday.

Barbed wire

Israel says they stabbed or had attempted to stab soldiers and was withholding the bodies of suspected assailants as part of measures to dissuade attacks on Jews.

On Friday Israel said it had released the bodies of seven Palestinians, apparently to ease tensions.

Families of children killed in the violence have clamoured for their bodies to be released and accuse authorities of "collective punishment".

Hebron - home to a shrine known to Jews as Cave of the Patriarchs and to Muslims as the Ibrahimi Mosque - is a city of 200 000 Palestinians.

But the presence of 500 Israeli settlers near the city centre, protected by barbed wire, watchtowers and a buffer zone patrolled by the army, has kept tensions high.

Dozens of protesters outside the shrine on Friday condemned restrictions on access imposed by Israel, which has split it into a mosque and a synagogue.

Read more on:    palestine  |  israel  |  middle east peace

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