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Funeral held in Hebron after Israel returns body of 18-year-old Palestinian woman

Jan. 28, 2017 4:14 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 29, 2017 11:32 P.M.)
HEBRON (Ma'an) -- A funeral was held on Saturday afternoon for slain 18-year-old Majd al-Khadour, whose body was returned Friday after being held by Israeli authorities for seven months.

Large crowds took part in the funeral in the southern occupied West Bank village of Bani Naim in the Hebron district, despite increasingly cold weather conditions across the Palestinian territory. Mourners demanded that the international community protect Palestinians from Israeli military abuses.

Al-Khadour's father, Abdullah, said during the funeral that the family “thanked God for bringing Majd back to us.”

“This has been the happiest day of my life after receiving her body.

Majd’s mother said that she was devastated and broken after her daughter was killed, but was grateful she was left with her other daughter, Batoul.

The Committee for returning bodies of martyrs also demanded during the funeral that Israeli authorities release the slain bodies of Muhammad Tarayra and Muhammad al-Faqih, as they have remained detained by Israeli authorities for more than six months. Israeli officials have refused to release their bodies owing to allegations that the two were affiliated with Hamas.

Al-Khadour was shot and killed by Israeli forces on June 24 after they alleged she attempted to carry out a vehicular attack when 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.

A 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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