'Devastated' Palestinian families mourn three killed in Israeli raids in West Bank
Early on Wednesday, Israeli authorities handed over the body of 19-year-old Ammar Abu Afifeh to his family, after he had been killed late on Tuesday in an Israeli raid in the village of Beit Fajjar, near Bethelehem. Abu Afifeh was buried on Wednesday in the refugee camp of Al-Arroub, near Hebron, where he lived with his family.
His mother Umm Issa told The New Arab that Ammar was on a night out with his friends, when Israeli forces raided Beit Fajjar. "I was coming back home when I saw tens of people in the camp running to our house," she said, "I became worried and asked what was happening, and then a neighbor told me that Ammar had been killed, and his body retained by Israeli forces." The young man was in his first year of studies at the Khadouri technical college.
The Israeli army confirmed its responsibility for the killing of Abu Afifeh in a statement given to Israeli media. The online version of Israeli daily Jerusalem Post quoted the military as saying that two suspects had approached a memorial next to the Migdal Oz kibbutz, and had began to run. "Soldiers performed the proper suspect arrest protocols, which included shooting towards the two," said the article.
Watch: Ammar Shafiq Abu Afifeh, from Arroub refugee camp, north of Hebron city, was yesterday shot by Israeli soldiers and killed at the entrance of Beit Fajjar.#FreePalestine #IsraeliTerrorism pic.twitter.com/qAOfXcQB6C— Wafa News Agency - English (@WAFANewsEnglish) March 2, 2022
Abu Afifeh is the third Palestinian to be killed by Israeli forces in less than 24 hours. On Tuesday, thousands of mourners took part in the funeral of two Palestinians killed late on Monday by Israeli forces in the Jenin refugee camp. A general strike of 24 hours was declared in Jenin city as a sign of mourning.
Both 22-year-old Abdallah Husari and 18-year-old Shadi Najim were reported dead in the late hours of Monday, after being shot by Israeli forces in a raid. A third Palestinian resident of the camp was reportedly seriously wounded during the incursion, while another was arrested.
WATCH: Thousands of Palestinians take part in the funeral of Shadi Najem and Abdullah al-Husari who were murdered early today by Israeli occupation forces in Jenin. pic.twitter.com/sxe2wDiurV— Kuffiya (@Kuffiya3) March 1, 2022
The Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement, announced in a statement that Abdallah Husari was one of its members, pointing out that he was killed while clashing with Israeli forces.
Local sources told The New Arab that Shadi Najim was not armed though. Atta Abu Rmeileh, the secretary of the Fatah Movement in Jenin, described Shadi Najim as "a young worker, son of a poor family, who took care of his sick parents and his disabled brother". The Fatah Movement is the political party that runs the Palestinian Authority.
“Israeli forces sneaked into the refugee camp in the early night and placed snipers on rooftops," said Abu Rmeileh. "They headed to the house of an ex-prisoner in Israeli jails, Jamal Abul Haijah, and arrested him. Then clashed with armed fighters from the camp while they were withdrawing. At the same time Shadi Najim was returning from work through the camp’s entrance," he added.
"Shadi was the support of the family," his father, Khaled Najim, told The New Arab, “he went to work in a sweets shop in Jenin city early in the morning every day and returned late at night."
"I received a call from a resident in the camp around 9 pm saying that Shadi had been wounded," said Najim. "I couldn’t go to the hospital to see him because I can’t walk, and I later received the news of his death at home. It is devastating, especially for his [disabled] brother, because Shadi was the only one who could take care of him."
Thousands of Palestinians take part in the funeral procession of martyrs Abdullah Husari and Shadi Najem, who were shot dead last night by the Israeli occupation army during a night raid of Jenin in the north of the occupied West Bank. pic.twitter.com/DgYo8HHOfM— Mahmoud Qaddoha (@MahQaddoha) March 1, 2022
On Tuesday, Israeli media quoted the border police as saying that its troops came under Palestinian fire during the raid on the Jenin refugee camp.
Israeli forces had conducted several raids in the Jenin region in past weeks. This is however the first time that Israeli forces raid the Jenin refugee camp since September, when they captured two of the Gilboa prison breakers.