Hundreds attended in Hebron the funeral of Abdel Fattah al-Sharif, a 21-year-old Palestinian assailant who was shot in the head by an Israeli soldier while lying wounded on the ground. The funeral took place more than two months after the March incident following the transfer of the body to the family on Friday evening.
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Although Sharif's family demanded the immediate return of his body, it was withheld by Israeli security authorities. An autopsy was also carried out as part of the investigation of the case. The body was transferred to Hebron's Al-Ahli Hospital Friday evening.
On Saturday, a military procession was held from the hospital to Sharif's parents' home and from there ultimately to a cemetery in the west of Hebron, with the participation of Palestinian police officers. Along the route, hundreds of young Palestinians shouted praise for Palestinians killed by Israelis security forces. Onlookers also shouted their condemnation of Israel and the occupation.
After Sharif and an accomplice stabbed a soldier in Hebron in March, video footage made public showed that security forces had already subdued Sharif, who was seen lying on the ground when he was then shot in the head by Sgt. Elor Azaria, an Israeli army medic who is now facing manslaughter charges over the incident.
At the funeral, Sharif's father, Yusri Sharif, said the family had insisted on holding a large funeral befitting of what he said was his son's stature in death. The father said the trial of Azaria was designed to mislead international public opinion, adding that he does not believe that justice would be served in the case.
In related developments, the Israel army returned the body of a Palestinian woman who had tried to stab Border Police personnel last week near Givat Ze'ev, north of Jerusalem, at the Ras Bidu checkpoint. The Border Police force became suspicious of the woman as she approached the checkpoint. An investigation found that they then followed procedure in an effort to arrest her, including firing into the air. She reportedly continued to advance toward them, and drew a knife from her bag, at which point the border policemen shot and killed her.
Earlier last week Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan instructed the police not to return any more bodies of terrorists from East Jerusalem to the Palestinians. The directive came after hundreds of people took part in the funeral procession of Alla Abu Jamal, who had carried out a car ramming and knifing attack in Jerusalem in October that killed Rabbi Yeshayahu Krishevsky.
"I saw the infuriating photographs from the funeral, in which the terms imposed by the police and assurances from terrorist's family were violated, and a funeral was held with numerous participants, in which calls of incitement and support for terrorism were heard. The families of the terrorists lied to the High Court of Justice after they pledged to meet the demands of the police, and it is a shame that the High Court believed them and pressured the police to give back the bodies by Ramadan," Erdan wrote on his Facebook page in explaining his decision to halt handing over the bodies.