Funerals for teens, inmate cause rioting

April 4, 2013 at 8:21 AM
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HEBRON, West Bank, April 4 (UPI) -- Rioting erupted in the West Bank Thursday as funerals for two Palestinian teens shot by Israeli military and a Palestinian prisoner were held, witnesses said.

Security forces were on high alert for violence, especially in Hebron, where the funeral for Palestinian prisoner Maissara Abu Hamdiyeh, 63, was held, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Two autopsies conducted by Israel and the Palestinian Authority confirmed that Hamdiyeh died of esophageal cancer in Soroka University Medical Center Tuesday. He was sentenced to life in prison in 2002 for his role in an attempted bombing of a restaurant in Jerusalem's German Colony. After his death, he was hailed as a Palestinian martyr and a hero.

The cancer diagnosis did not ease tensions among prisoners who criticized Israeli authorities for their handling of his case, said.

In a statement, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas blamed the government of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for the death of the terminally ill prisoner.

Violence broke out immediately in the West Bank after Hamdiyeh's death.

The two teens were killed when Israeli troops fired live ammunition in reaction to an attack on a guard station Wednesday. Their funeral was conducted in their hometown of Anabta Thursday.

The Post said rioting, demonstrations and marches were reported across the West Bank.

Palestinian businesses called a strike, closing shops in Hebron, Nablus and East Jerusalem, the newspaper said.

On Tuesday, Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails began for a three-day hunger strike to demonstrate solidarity with Hamdiyeh. A prison representative said 4,620 prisoners sent back all of their meals Wednesday.

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