Hamas stages first West Bank march since 2007

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 13, 2012 at 1:19 pm •  Published: December 13, 2012
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Dozens of youths clashed with Israeli soldiers throughout the day, throwing stones and bottles. Troops responded with volleys of tear gas and rubber bullets. No serious injuries were reported.

Wednesday's shooting of 17-year-old Mohammed Suleima has raised tensions in Hebron, where several hundred ultra-nationalist Jewish settlers live in heavily fortified enclaves in the midst of more than 180,000 Palestinians.

The shooting occurred near a holy site known to Jews as the Cave of the Patriarchs and to Muslims as the Ibrahimi Mosque. Tradition holds that it is the place where their shared patriarch, Abraham, or Ibrahim to Muslims, bought a burial plot.

Israel's paramilitary border police force said officers shot Suleima after he threatened them with a gun that only later turned out to be fake.

The officer said in an Israeli TV interview Thursday that she shot the youth when she saw him pull out a gun and press it to the temple of another officer. The TV report said that Palestinian activists put up posters in Hebron calling on the public to kill her.

Relatives of Suleima said he was unarmed.

Some 5,000 people joined Thursday's funeral procession, praising God and vowing revenge. "Our blood will redeem the martyr," the crowd chanted.

Suleima's body was wrapped in a green Hamas shroud as it was carried on a stretcher through the streets. Dozens of people held green Hamas flags aloft during the procession. Suleima's family is known to support Hamas, and his brother was released last year in a prisoner swap between Hamas and Israel that freed an Israeli soldier held for five years in Gaza.

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Nasser Shiyoukhi contributed reporting from Hebron.