Hundreds attend funerals of two Palestinians killed in Nablus

Faction members calls for clashes with Israeli troops; Fatah official who says he was briefed by PA security forces denies army’s assertion the two attacked soldiers with bombs

Adam Rasgon is the Palestinian affairs reporter at The Times of Israel

Over a thousand Palestinians participate in a funeral procession in Nablus on March 20, 2019. (Wafa)
Over a thousand Palestinians participate in a funeral procession in Nablus on March 20, 2019. (Wafa)

More than a thousand Palestinians participated in a funeral procession in Nablus on Wednesday for two Palestinians who Israeli security forces killed in the early morning after they allegedly threw explosive devices at them.

The masses marched through downtown Nablus alongside the bodies of Raed Hamdan and Zeid Nuri, who were 21 and 20, respectively.

The National and Islamic Forces in Ramallah, a group of activists that includes members of various Palestinian factions, urged Palestinians to clash with Israeli security forces and settlers at a number of locations in the West Bank later this week “to honor the souls of our people’s martyrs.”

The IDF asserted in a statement on Wednesday morning that Hamdan and Nuri had hurled a number of explosives from a car at security forces, who it said were securing the entry of Jewish worshippers to Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus. The army said the troops then fired at the two Palestinians and a bulldozer damaged their vehicle, killing them.

Illustrative: Israeli soldiers escort hundreds of Jewish worshippers to the Joseph’s Tomb holy site in Nablus in the northern West Bank on December 10, 2018. (Israel Defense Forces)

The IDF often escorts Jewish worshipers to Joseph’s Tomb adjacent to the Balata refugee camp in Nablus. Israeli soldiers and Palestinians have previously clashed at the site many times, with Palestinians in some instances opening fire on troops and throwing firebombs at them.

The tomb is located in Area A of the West Bank, which is officially under Palestinian Authority security control. It is revered by Jews, Muslims, Christians and Samaritans.

Tayseer Nasrallah, a Fatah official who said he was briefed by members of the PA security forces about Wednesday morning’s incident, denied that Hamdan and Nuri had hurled explosive devices at troops.

“They coincidentally bumped into the army’s forces,” he told The Times of Israel in a phone call. “They did not throw anything at them.”

The National and Islamic Forces in Ramallah called for Wednesday to be a day of mourning, including for the death of 18-year-old Omar Abu Laila — a Palestinian suspected of carrying out a stabbing attack and shooting attacks in the northern West Bank earlier this week which left two Israelis dead. Abu Laila was killed by security forces early Wednesday during an attempt to arrest him, according to the Shin Bet security service.

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