Palestinians carry the body of Hassan Ashour, a Palestinian teenager who died of his injuries, during his funeral on August 25, 2014 in the West Bank city of Nablus. (AFP/Jaafar Ashtiyeh, File)
SALFIT (Ma’an) -- Hundreds of Palestinians attended the funeral of Muhammad Zahran on Sunday, whose body was held by Israel after he was killed while attacking Israeli security guards days before.
The funeral procession set off from the Yasser Arafat public hospital in Salfit towards Zahran’s hometown of Kafr Ad Dik to the north. The body was taken to the Zahran family home where relatives bid their final goodbyes, before carrying his body for burial in the village cemetery.
“Muhammad was the youngest of my six sons. He was calm, tolerant and everybody loved him,” his mother told Ma’an before the funeral.
“On Thursday before he left to work he asked me to make tea and I did. We sat for a few minutes and after we finished the tea, his farewell felt different from usual.”
Zahran was shot dead on Thursday after he stabbed and wounded two Israeli security guards in the industrial district of the illegal Ariel settlement north of Salfit, the Israeli army said following his death.
Hours before Zahran’s funeral, Israel released his body and the bodies of six other Palestinians who were killed by Israeli forces, some of them more than a month earlier, the Palestinian Authority of Civil Affairs told Ma'an at the time.
Violence increased across the occupied Palestinian territory in October and has continued through December, leaving nearly 140 Palestinians and 20 Israelis dead since Oct. 1.
In response to the unrest, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pushed a proposal by Israel’s Public Security Ministry to withhold bodies of Palestinians killed while carrying out attacks on Israelis.
The decision was made in order to stem mass protests that frequently accompany the funerals of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces, but the policy has only further stoked tensions in the occupied Palestinian territory.
Israeli authorities have since returned many of the bodies to their families on what they refer to as a "case-by-case" basis.