Palestinians in Jenin mourned the 70th victim of Israeli escalation in the governorate this year. The 17-year-old Uthman Abu Kharj was killed on Tuesday in Zababdeh, southeast of Jenin city, by raiding Israeli forces.
Hundreds of Palestinians marched in Zababdeh carrying Abu Kharj's body before laying it to rest in the town's cemetery. The victim's mother led the march, carrying the body ahead of mourners without speaking.
Abu Kharj's father was asked to address the media at the Jenin public hospital. Struggling to speak through his tears, with a choking voice, the father repeated his son's words when asked to be careful during Israeli raids.
"Those who fall as martyrs aren't better than me, you used to say, my son. Now you had what you sought for", the father repeated. Uthman Abu Kharj was the third of three brothers and worked in a local bakery.
"Uthman worked with me at the bakery on a night shift, from midnight to sunrise", Ahmad Gharib, Abu Kharj's friend and bakery owner in Zababdeh, told Palestinian media. "He was a very nice person, always laughing and smiling."
"Around the end of the shift at 6:00 am, there were gunshots, and we heard that the occupation army was raiding Zababdeh", said Gharib.
"Uthman ran out to the street, and I couldn't hold him back, and later, young men told me that he was hit", added Gharib. "A bullet hit him in the head, and he was bleeding."
Uthman Abu Kharj was named after his 51-year-old uncle, a prisoner in Israeli jails since 2003 for militant activity during the Second Intifada.
Uthman, the uncle, belonged to Fatah's armed wing, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades. He was diagnosed with hepatitis while in prison. His family has repeatedly accused Israeli authorities of medically neglecting him.
On Tuesday, 22 August, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) mourned Uthman Abu Kharj in a statement as its member.
Meanwhile, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh condemned Abu Kharj's killing, calling international institutions to "leave their silence regarding the crimes of Israeli occupation".
Since the beginning of 2023, Israeli forces have killed over 200 Palestinians, according to the Palestinian health ministry records, 70 of whom were killed in the northern occupied West Bank Jenin governorate.