THOUSANDS ATTEND FUNERAL FOR PALESTINIAN TEENAGER; AUTOPSY SAYS KILLED AT CLOSE RANGE

BETHLEHEM, Feb 25 — Thousands of mourners on Tuesday attended the funeral of 19-year-old Jihad Shehada al-Jaafari, who was shot and killed during a dawn arrest raid in Duheisha refugee camp.

Mourners received the body of the teenager in Duheisha camp after an autopsy in Al-Quds University’s forensic medicine unit.

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

Al-Jaafari’s father told Ma’an that his son lay bleeding for an hour and a half on the rooftop where he was shot before anyone had realized what happened.

“His mother called him an hour before he was killed telling him to come back home, but he never did.”

Relatives began looking for Jihad immediately after Israeli soldiers had left the camp following a dawn arrest raid, and found his body on the rooftop where he was shot.

He was taken to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Jihad’s mother said her son was defending his home and refugee camp and called upon Palestinian officials to defend the rights of Palestinians.

Israeli soldiers opened fire randomly after raiding the camp, injuring several youths, she added.

Medics said the teenager died of internal bleeding, with witnesses at the scene saying Israeli forces stopped ambulances from reaching his body.

Stores closed their doors in Bethlehem stores as a mark of respect for the killed teenager.

A spokeswoman for the Israeli army said that troops were attacked by people throwing stones and incendiary devices, adding that one soldier was wounded.

“After trying in vain to disperse the crowd of attackers, our forces felt in danger and opened fire at the leader of the rioters, who was hit,” the spokeswoman said, without elaborating.

Meanwhile, autopsy results revealed that Jihad was shot in the upper body at close range, a forensic expert told Ma’an.

Sabri al-Aloul said that the autopsy results show that 19-year-old Jihad al-Jaafari bled to death after being hit with an M16 bullet that penetrated his body through the left shoulder and struck his lungs before exiting and causing severe bleeding in his arteries and around his spine.

The killing was “similar to an execution” because he was shot from very close range, al-Aloul said.

The autopsy was performed between 10:45 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. and adhered to international standards, he added.

He said the autopsy was significant given that the report could be used to hold Israel accountable in international courts.

Al-Jafaari’s father Shehada had called for the autopsy in order to document what he called Israeli crimes and violations against Palestinians.

SOURCE: MA’AN