Hundreds mourn Palestinian teenager killed in Nablus by Israel
Hundreds of Palestinians took part on Tuesday in the funeral of 17-year-old Hamza Ashqar, who was killed by Israeli forces during a military raid on the northern occupied West Bank city of Nablus.
Mourners carried the teenager's body, which was wrapped in a Palestinian flag, through the alleys of the refugee camp of Askar, across the streets of Nablus to his final resting place at the city's cemetery amidst chants of hailing the resistance and gunshots fired in the air.
Hamza Ashqar was killed with a live bullet in the early hours of Tuesday, making his death the second Palestinian from Nablus killed by Israel since the beginning of the year, and the 42nd in the occupied West Bank, including nine children.
Hundreds of people mourn 17-year-old Palestinian teen Hamza Al-Ashqar, who was murdered by Israeli forces in a military raid into Nablus at dawn today. pic.twitter.com/KCfHpbzmKJ— PALESTINE ONLINE 🇵🇸 (@OnlinePalEng) February 7, 2023
"The occupation army entered Nablus from the eastern side at around 3:00 am and arrested three young men near the refugee camp of Askar," Mohammad Raei, a human rights activist and resident of Nablus, told The New Arab.
"Palestinian fighters engaged the occupation forces with gunfire during the raid, but Hamza Ashqar wasn't among them," he said. "He was among other youngsters who threw stones at the occupation forces during their withdrawal from the city, and he was shot with a live bullet that entered through his mouth and rested in the back of his head."
At his house in the Askar refugee camp, Hamza Ashqar's father spoke to TNA while he received a stream of mourners who continued to arrive throughout the day to pay their respect to the family.
"Hamza was a joyful young man, always joking and creating a good ambience, to the point his mother used to tell his siblings that he was the only smiling face among them," said the sobbing father.
"He had dropped out of school to help sustain the family and worked at a vegetable stall at the Nablus food market," the father continued. "He dreamed of making a future for himself and his siblings, always hardworking, obeying and polite."
Breaking: Israeli forces shot and killed 16-year-old Hamza Amjad Yousef Ashqar around 3:20 a.m. this morning in Al-Masaken Al-Sha'bya, near New Askar refugee camp east of Nablus. An Israeli soldier shot Hamza in the mouth and the left side of his waist. pic.twitter.com/2LldJm4A93— Defense for Children (@DCIPalestine) February 7, 2023
"Hamza lost his close friend, Alaa Zaghal, who was killed by the occupation forces in October," the father added. "That loss impacted him a great deal, and since then he never stopped talking about it."
"This morning I received a phone call from my nephew, who asked me weeping if I knew where Hamza was, so I checked in his room and found him absent, and that's how I knew that the young man killed at dawn was him," the father concluded.
In a statement, the Nablus-based Palestinian armed group "The Lions' Den" said that its fighters had engaged Israeli forces during Tuesday's early morning raid.
The group also mourned Hamza Ashqar as "a martyr of the homeland and Nablus". The group, which usually claims its members when killed in action, did not claim Ashqar as a member.
Israeli forces have ramped up their military raids across the occupied West Bank cities and towns since the beginning of the year.
Later on Tuesday morning, Israeli forces raided the village of Burqin, near Jenin, and arrested 25 Palestinians, while exchanging fire with Palestinian resistance fighters.
Sister of Hamza Abu-Shaqra mourns her brother who was killed by the lsraeli occupation forces earlier today in Nablus. pic.twitter.com/uoTpRuGk3I— TIMES OF GAZA (@Timesofgaza) February 7, 2023
On Monday, Israeli forces killed five Palestinians in the refugee camp of Aqbat Jabr in Jericho in the Jordan Valley. The latest Israeli violence comes two weeks after Israeli forces killed nine Palestinians in the Jenin refugee camp, including one 61-year-old woman.
Shortly before Israeli forces’ raid in Jericho, Palestine's ambassador at the UN, Riyadh Mansour, sent a letter to the UN secretary-general, the president of the UN General Assembly and the president of the UN Security Council, in which he called for "international intervention to stop Israeli aggression" against Palestinians.