Mourners bury 2 Palestinians after remains held 12 years in Israel
Published Wednesday 22/01/2014 (updated) 24/01/2014 20:35
NABLUS (Ma'an) -- Hundreds of Palestinian mourners on Wednesday gathered for the funerals of two Palestinians whose remains had been held in Israel for more than 12 years, a Ma'an reporter said.
A military funeral procession carried the remains of Fathi Ameera from nearby Rafedia Hospital to a cemetery in eastern Nablus, where he was buried.
Samahna's remains were taken to a cemetery in the village of Beit Hasan northeast of Nablus. Mourners from Beit Hasan and surrounding villages gathered to pay respects to Samahna, who left behind a wife and five children.
Israeli authorities delivered the remains of Ameera and Rafedia to the Taybeh checkpoint near Tulkarem late Tuesday.
Ameera was killed by Israeli forces when he was 18, his uncle told Ma'an.
He died on Mar. 30, 2002 after carrying out "an operation at an Israeli military checkpoint in Baqa al-Gharbiya, killing an Israeli soldier," his uncle said.
Samahna was a Palestinian activist who was wanted by Israel, said Abd al-Latif Shtayyeh.
Shtayyeh said he was present when Samahna died.
Samahna and other activists "were hiding in an orange grove (when) Israeli forces attacked them," Shtayyeh said.
"Israeli military helicopters started to bombard the grove from all directions. Ata Samahna was killed immediately by a direct hit."
Salim Khillah, a spokesman for a committee to retrieve Palestinian remains from Israeli custody, said Friday that Israeli authorities had decided to return the remains of 36 Palestinians held in Israeli "numbered graves."
Khallah said Israel had agreed to return the remains as a gesture to encourage the PLO to continue with peace negotiations.
But a spokesman for an Israeli human rights group told Ma'an Thursday that the delivery of the remains was the result of a Supreme Court decision.
A spokesman for HaMoked said that the decision came in response to the organization's demands for the release of the remains of every Palestinian currently held in Israel's custody.