Thousands attend funeral of Palestinian teenager

Thousands attend funeral of Palestinian teenager
19-year-old Jihad al-Jaafari was shot dead by Israeli soldiers, reportedly "execution style", during a military raid on a refugee camp in Bethlehem.
2 min read
25 February, 2015
Mourners carry the body of 19-year old Palestinian Jihad al-Jaafari [AFP]
Thousands of mourners on Tuesday attended the funeral of 19-year-old Jihad al-Jaafari, who was shot and killed by Israeli troops at a refugee camp in the southern West Bank town of Bethlehem.

Israeli troops entered the Dheisheh Refugee Camp before dawn, sparking clashes with stone-throwing residents.

Jaafari was understood to have been awoken by the commotion and had climbed onto his roof to see what had happened, when he was struck by an Israeli bullet in the chest.

"Israeli soldiers opened fire randomly after raiding the camp, injuring several youths," Jaafari's mother said.

Relatives began looking for the teenager immediately after Israeli soldiers had left the camp. 

Jaafari's father told Ma'an News Agency that his son lay bleeding for an hour and a half on the rooftop where he was shot before anyone had realised what had happened.

According to local media sources, the Israeli army prevented ambulances from reaching Jaafari, who was later taken to Yamama Hospital in Bethlehem and pronounced dead on arrival.

The young Palestinian was "defending his home and refugee camp" his mother said, calling upon officials to defend the rights of Palestinians.

Autopsy results showed that Jaafari was shot in the upper body at close range and bled to death. Forensic expert Sabri al-Aloul, who read the autopsy report, said the killing was "similar to an execution" because he was shot from a very close range.

Jaafari's father called for the autopsy in order to document what he called "Israeli crimes and violations against Palestinians".

Aloul revealed that the autopsy was significant, given that the report could be used to hold Israel accountable in international courts.

The body was taken for burial at the Martyrs' Cemetery, south of Bethlehem in the village of Artas.

As the body was carried on the shoulders of mourners, it was accompanied by the pennants of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Palestine Liberation Organisation.

Stores in Bethlehem closed their doors during the funeral as a mark of respect.