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Israel returns body of slain 18-year-old Palestinian girl to family in Hebron

Jan. 27, 2017 8:40 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 29, 2017 11:15 P.M.)
Majd al-Khadour
HEBRON (Ma’an) -- Israeli authorities returned the body of 18-year-old Majd al-Khadour to a Palestinian liaison and a representative of the family for burial in the village of Bani Naim in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron on Friday evening. Her body had been held for seven months.

A Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance took the body to the al-Ahli hospital in Hebron.

The body is expected to be examined by doctors and buried on Saturday following duhr (noon) prayers.

Al-Khadour was shot and killed by Israeli forces on June 24 after they alleged that the teen attempted to carry out a vehicular attack after her car crashed into a stationary vehicle, lightly injuring two Israelis near the entrance of the illegal Kiryat Arba settlement.

The circumstances of the incident were contested at the time, with some Palestinian social media outlets reporting that eyewitnesses told them the incident appeared to be a car accident, not a premeditated attack.

Video released by Palestinian media of the incident, however, appear to show the car speeding towards a small junction popular for hitchhikers which usually has Israeli military personnel stationed there.

Al-Khadour was among 254 Palestinians to be killed by Israeli forces since a wave of unrest across the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Israel began in October 2015, according to Ma’an documentation.

Amid the violence, Israeli authorities dramatically escalated a policy of withholding Palestinian bodies killed by Israeli forces under the claim 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 Israeli, saying: "Israel's collective punishments are now being carried out against the living and the dead."

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