Five Palestinians have been injured after clashes with Israeli troops as thousands of Palestinian protestors marched through Hebron in the West Bank Thursday, during a funeral being held for a teenager who was killed by Israeli troops Wednesday.
Palestinians at the funeral waved green Hamas flags and chanted anti-Israeli slogans. There were clashes between youths and soldiers throughout the day, with the Palestinians throwing bottles and stones and the Israelis responding with tear gas and rubber bullets.
5 Palestinians have been hospitalized, according to the Ma’an news agency.
Wednesday’s shooting of 17-year-old Mahammed Ziad Awad Salaymah has raised tensions in Hebron, which had calmed slightly following President Mahmoud Abbas’ successful bid at the UN, which resulted in Palestine being given non-member observer status.
The shooting occurred near a holy site known to Jews as the Cave of the Patriarchs and to Muslims as the Ibrahimi Mosque, which has added tension to an already volatile situation.
As a result, clashes erupted on Wednesday between the Palestinians and the Israelis."They have orders to shoot with live bullets now," a resident of Hebron told Al Jazeera.
On Thursday tensions in Hebron remained high. Up to 5 thousand people joined Thursday’s funeral procession vowing revenge and praising God, “Our blood will redeem the martyr,” they chanted.
Israel’s paramilitary border police force say they shot Salaymah after they thought he brandished a gun at them but that they later they realized it was fake.
“[Salaymah] pulled a fake pistol. They [troops at the scene] thought it was real,” said Micky Rosenfeld, a spokesman for the Israeli police.
But relatives of the boy say he was unarmed and that he was hard of hearing and didn’t catch the soldiers telling him to halt. Although later they said his hearing was fine.
Salaymah’s family is known to openly support Hamas, his brother was released last year in an Israel prisoner swap, where he was exchanged for an Israeli soldier, Gildd Shalit, who had been held in Gaza for 5 years.
The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) used stun grenades and tear gas to disperse over 250 angry Palestinians after an Israeli patrol was dragged into a brawl with Palestinian Authority forces.
These latest tensions come just a few weeks after the Israeli aerial attack on Gaza, which left scores of Palestinians dead.