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Hundreds mourn 14-year-old after Israel returns body to family

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Hundreds of Palestinians late Friday mourned in the funeral of 14-year-old Hadeel Wajih Awwad from the Qalandiya refugee camp whose body was held by Israeli authorities for nearly a month. Awwad was killed by Israeli forces and her 16-year-old cousin was shot and critically injured after they reportedly carried out a stab attack with scissors in West Jerusalem’s Mahaneh Yehuda market on Nov. 23.

Video footage of the incident shows an Israeli security guard shooting the girls several times after they had both fallen to the ground. Awwad’s body was one of several to be withheld inside of Israel after Israel’s security cabinet announced in October that the bodies of Palestinians shot dead by Israeli forces after carrying out attacks on Israelis would no longer be returned to their families.

Israeli officials delivered the teen’s body to Palestinian liaison officers at the Ofer detention center west of Ramallah. Her body was taken to the Palestine Medical Complex where it was examined by coroners, before being carried to her family home in Qalandiya refugee camp north of Ramallah.

After relatives bid the young teen a final farewell, mourners then carried Awwad to a main mosque in the camp, where hundreds performed a funeral prayer before laying her body to rest in al-Shuhada (Martyr’s) cemetery inside of the camp. The 14-year-old was the second child from the Awwad family to be buried in the cemetery, with her brother shot and killed by Israeli forces during clashes in the camp in 2013.

She was one of nearly 30 Palestinians under the age of 18 to be killed since Oct. 1. Residents of Qalandiya refugee camp last week staged a protest demanding that Israel deliver Awwad’s body, as well as six others from the area around the camp.

Israel is still holding the bodies of dozens of other Palestinians killed in recent months, including the bodies of 21 Hebron-area Palestinians.
Tensions in the Qalandiya area have been running high in recent weeks, with two Palestinians killed Wednesday during a predawn military raid in the Qalandiya refugee camp.

The week before Hadeel was killed in West Jerusalem in November, Israeli forces had killed two Palestinians in the refugee camp during a raid to demolish the home of an alleged Palestinian attacker. MAAN

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