Gazans bury 12-year-old killed in Israel border clashes
SAID KHATIB (AFP)
Hundreds of Palestinians attended the funeral Saturday of a 12-year-old boy killed by Israeli army fire during clashes on the Gaza border.
Shadi Abdel Aal was fatally wounded Friday during demonstrations east of Jabalia in northern Gaza, becoming one of the youngest Palestinians to be killed in months of unrest along the frontier.
Hundreds of family members and friends attended the funeral, with some calling for revenge.
"God burn those that burned my heart and killed my son," said his mother Umm Shadi, who has eight other children.
"What is my son guilty of? He is 12 years old," she added through tears.
She said her son had been going to the protests in recent months but she had been opposed. "I banned him but he was going behind our backs," said the grieving mother.
Mohammed, a 12 year-old friend also from Jabalia refugee camp, said he was with Abdel Aal when he was hit.
"We were throwing stones at the fence," he told AFP, referring to the heavily-guarded Israeli border line.
The friend said Shadi had been hit by a tear gas grenade fired by Israeli soldiers and collapsed instantly. He was among three Palestinians fatally wounded by Israeli fire on Friday.
The Israeli army said that 13,000 Palestinian protesters gathered at five different locations on the Gaza border on Friday.
An aircraft and a tank struck two posts in Gaza belonging to Hamas in response to grenades and explosive devises being hurled at IDF troops, the Israeli army said.
"The rioters are burning tires, hurling rocks and firebombs at IDF troops and the security fence. A number of rioters hurled two grenades at a military vehicle in the northern Gaza Strip and a number of explosive devices at IDF troops. No injuries to IDF troops were reported," the army said in a statement.
"IDF troops are responding with riot dispersal means and are operating in accordance with the standard operating procedures. In addition, IDF troops spotted nine suspects who crossed the security fence in the southern Gaza Strip. The suspects returned to the Gaza Strip shortly thereafter," the statement concluded.
Since the "Great March of Return" erupted on March 30, at least 178 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire, the majority during demonstrations. One Israeli soldier has been shot dead by a sniper.
Some 50 of those killed have been identified as Hamas members. Israel accuses Hamas of using the demonstrations to inflict damage on the security fence separating Gaza from Israel as well as targeting Israeli soldiers.
The border has been relatively quiet since Israel and Hamas began negotiating a ceasefire with Egypt and the United Nations acting as mediators in an effort to secure a truce to end months of heavy violence along the Gaza border as well as to ease conditions in the impoverished Palestinian enclave.
The proposal under discussion is said to include a commitment to a long-term cessation of violence, the restoration of the Palestinian Authority’s control over the Hamas-run Strip and the advancement of a number of humanitarian projects funded chiefly by Qatar, including an Israeli-supervised shipping lane between Gaza and Cyprus.
Gaza’s approximately two million residents labor under restrictive Israeli and Egyptian blockades imposed since 2007 as well as daily blackouts, sky-high unemployment and limited access to clean drinking water. Some have argued it is on the verge of collapse.
Israel says the blockade is necessary to stop Hamas from committing terror attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians.
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