Thousands Attend Funeral of Arab Teen Allegedly Killed by Israeli Police

City of Umm al-Fahm accuses the police of Mohammed Kiwan's 'murder and assassination,' declares general strike

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Mourners during Mohammed Kiwan's funeral in Umm al-Fahm, on Thursday.
Mourners during Mohammed Kiwan's funeral in Umm al-Fahm, on Thursday.Credit: Ahmad GHARABLI / AFP

Thousands attended the funeral march Thursday for Mohammed Kiwan, a resident of Umm al-Fahm who was killed the previous night, with his family saying he was shot dead by police. A few dozen people clashed with police after the funeral march ended and the crowd dispersed, and three were arrested for allegedly throwing stones at police.

The city also declared a general strike on Thursday over the killing. It accused the police of “murder and assassination” in Kiwan’s death, asserting that it was done as part of a “policy of murder practiced by the Israeli occupation against all Palestinians.” In a statement, the city said Kiwan’s death was another instance of “the Palestinian nation’s blood spilled for the sake of Jerusalem, the al-Aqsa Mosque and Gaza.”

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The municipality called on Umm al-Fahm’s youth “not to be provoked by the police and government officials, and to wait for the funeral.” Scores of activists and city residents, protesting Wednesday night over Kiwan’s death, were dispersed by police using tear gas after several masked protestors shot fireworks at them.

Kiwan was brought to Rambam Hospital in Haifa last week with bullet wounds to the head. About an hour beforehand, police had been dispatched to the Umm al-Fahm area after reports of Arab youths trying to attack Jews traveling on the main Wadi Ara road. At some stage, police opened fire at a vehicle that had run over an officer. The vehicle left the area and has not been found, but police are investigating whether Kiwan was in it at the time of the incident and was hit in the shooting.

On Wednesday, police investigators gathered evidence from Kiwan’s father. His family said that the youth was in a car with friends when police opened fire at them.

Ayman Odeh, chairman of the Joint List, accused the “Ohana and Netanyahu police” of killing Kiwan. “We have tried to protect our youth, but their hatred was stronger. We promise you that your blood will guarantee a life of dignity in our homeland.”

The Israel Police said in a statement that “so far there are no indications to make a connection between the events, which are being investigated separately. The investigation of the shooting is being conducted as usual by the prosecutor’s internal affairs investigation unit while the investigation of the injured youth is being undertaken by the police.”

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