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Israel to release 2 slain Palestinian bodies to families in Hebron

Jan. 6, 2017 3:47 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 9, 2017 7:19 P.M.)
HEBRON (Ma’an) -- Israeli authorities have decided to return the bodies of two slain Palestinians on Friday evening, according to Amin al-Bayid, a member of the Palestinian National Committee for Retrieving Bodies of Martyrs.

According to al-Bayid, Israel will return the bodies of Muhammad al-Rajabi and Hatim Shaludi, both natives of Hebron city in the southern occupied West Bank, on Friday evening to Palestinian liaison officials.

From there, the bodies will then be transferred to al-Ahli hospital in Hebron, and will be laid to rest Saturday morning.

Muhammad al-Rajabi,15, was shot to death by Israeli soldiers on Sept. 16 after he stabbed and lightly injuring an Israeli soldier near the Tel Rumeida area of Hebron’s Old City.

Hatim Shaludi, 25, was also shot dead in the Tel Rumeida area on Sept. 17 after an alleged attempted stabbing attack, less than 24 hours after al-Rajabi's killing.

The two are among at least nine bodies of slain Palestinians still being held by Israeli authorities for between eight and three months.

The security cabinet of the Israeli government decided Sunday that bodies of slain Palestinians affiliated with the Hamas movement who were killed while carrying out attacks against Israelis would not be returned to their families, a  decision which affects the families of three Palestinians whose bodies currently being held.

Israeli authorities dramatically escalated a policy of withholding Palestinian bodies killed by Israeli forces amid unrest that erupted across the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel in October 2015, having repeatedly claimed that funerals of Palestinians had provided grounds for “incitement” against the Israeli state.

A joint statement released by Addameer and Israeli minority rights group Adalah in March condemned Israel’s practice of withholding bodies as "a severe violation of international humanitarian law as well as international human rights law, including violations of the right to dignity, freedom of religion, and the right to practice culture."

PLO official Saeb Erekat has also urged the international community to pressure Israel to release Palestinian bodies held by Israel, saying: "Israel's collective punishments are now being carried out against the living and the dead."
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