Israel Refuses to Release Body of Palestinian Shot by Police in East Jerusalem

An Israeli court denied a request on Friday by the family of a 20-year-old Palestinian man who was shot by police to release his body for a funeral.

Mohammed Samir Abid was shot on Thursday, with police saying he had thrown lit firecrackers at them and endangered their lives.

Police told the court that they fear riots will break out during Mohammed Samir Abid’s funeral. Confrontations between police officers and Palestinian youth in Isawiyah, where the shooting took place, and other East Jerusalem neighborhoods continued during the night and into Friday morning before resuming on Friday afternoon.

The court ordered police to declare within two days when they will release the man’s body, which is is being kept in the Institute for Forensic Medicine at Abu Kabir in Tel Aviv.

Jerusalem’s community administration building in Isawiyah, which provides a wide range of services for residents and is considered a symbol of cooperation between residents and Israeli authorities, was set on fire and burned down on overnight. Additional incidents of arson occurred in Kafr Aqab, a Palestinian village located within the municipal boundaries but separated from most of the city by the West Bank security barrier, after residents threw Molotov cocktails.

Other residents of Isawiyah were wounded by rubber bullets in clashes with security forces  on Thursday. The clashes continued at the hospital, after residents who accompanied those who were injured got into a confrontation with police forces.

Residents of Isawiyah said Abid was recently released from an Israeli prison after serving a five-year sentence for throwing stones. A witness at the scene told Haaretz that Abid was shot “by three shots from a gun, at close range … I couldn’t save him, he died in my arms. What happened this evening requires everyone to understand that we cannot remain complacent in the face of such crimes.”

Mohammed Abu Humus, a resident of Isawiyah, said that after the end of the demonstration held in the area earlier, some of the protestors went into the mosque to pray. After the service, “they told us a large [police] force had entered the neighborhood. We went down and argued with one of the officers. There were children who threw rocks, and then we heard three shots.”

On Thursday, residents demonstrated at the entrance to Isawiyah alongside left-wing activists from the Free Jerusalem organization, protesting over police raids that have been taking place for the past three weeks.

In recent days, confrontations have erupted between police and Palestinians in Isawiyah. On Wednesday, young residents of the village poured a can of paint on a policeman, and security forces fired a rubber bullet at a bus full of passengers. Last week, three Palestinians were wounded during clashes with police, and were evacuated to receive medical care. At least one minor was arrested in the incident.

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