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19-year-old Palestinian shot dead by Israeli forces over stone throwing laid to rest

Dec. 18, 2016 4:33 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 19, 2016 11:11 A.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- Thousands of Palestinians attended on Sunday morning the funeral of 19-year-old Ahmad Hazem al-Rimawi, who was shot dead by Israeli forces hours earlier during a raid in the village of Beit Rima.

Al-Rimawi was shot in the chest and killed by an Israeli sniper during clashes that erupted in Beit Rima and the neighboring village of Deir Ghasana, in the northern part of the Ramallah district.

Israeli forces reportedly fired only live bullets at the Palestinian protesters who were throwing rocks. Another Palestinian was reported injured, as was an Israeli border officer.

The Israeli army told Ma’an on Sunday morning that forces had “engaged in riot dispersal means” in response to thrown rocks, and despite being “aware of reports that a rioter was killed,” has not yet confirmed responsibility for the death.

The funeral set off from Yasser Arafat Hospital in Salfit, and headed south to Beit Rima, where thousands of Palestinians were waiting near al-Rimawi’s grandfather’s home to bid him farewell, before proceeding to the village’s mosque for prayer, and finally to the village’s cemetery.

Al-Rimawi’s father Hazem al-Rimawi, who had just been released from Israeli prison three months ago after serving a 15-year sentence away from his son, was too grief-stricken to speak during the funeral.

Al-Rimawi’s grandmother, Umm Hazem, who raised him after his mother and father were separated, expressed great sorrow for her grandson’s death. She said Ahmad was “a very lively kid,” and was always making jokes.

The killing of al-Rimawi brought the number of Palestinians killed by Israelis since October 2015 to 244. At least 66 Palestinians were shot dead by Israeli forces during clashes, police and army raids during this time period. Amid the increase in violence over the past year, rights groups have routinely condemned Israeli authorities for their use of excessive force against Palestinians, during incidents that did not warrant a violent response.

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