A terrorist killed while attempting to stab an Israeli civilian near Nablus in November was buried Sunday in a West Bank funeral featuring a large banner of Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah.
A self-professed fan of the Lebanon-based terror organization, 16-year-old Ashraqat Taha Qatanany was thwarted mid-attack on November 22 when former Samaria Regional Council head Gershon Mesika rammed his car into her and she was subsequently shot by security forces.
Qatanany’s body had been held by Israel since she carried out the attack and was only returned several days ago for burial in her hometown.
Footage of the funeral, broadcast Sunday on Lebanese Al-Mayadeen TV, showed mourners marching with a large banner featuring Qatanany and Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah photoshopped beside each other. At the top of the banner is written in Arabic: “Mr. Hassan Nasrallah is present in us.”
The funeral also featured flags and imagery supporting the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and its founder George Habash.
Despite all the Hezbollah regalia, Qatanany was not a member of the organization but rather just an admirer of its “resistance” activities. Her Facebook profile is rife with images of the terror group and includes one post proudly displaying the face of Nasrallah as her new cellphone background.
تشييع جثمان الشهيدة اشرقت قطناني في مدينة نابلس ظهر اليوم…#رايـة #فلسطين
Hezbollah, an Iran-backed Shiite Muslim terror organization, enjoyed wide support in the Arab and Muslim worlds especially after its performance in the 2006 war with Israel. Although 1,200 Lebanese, including hundreds of civilians, were killed, and heavy damage was caused to Lebanon’s infrastructure, the group declared victory and its popularity skyrocketed. Since then however, Hezbollah fighters’ heavy involvement in the Syrian conflict on the side of the Assad regime has led many, especially Sunni Muslims, to view them as merely Iranian proxies and to drop support for the group.
Israeli authorities in some cases delay the return of terrorists’ bodies in order to prevent — or at least dampen — the mass-rallies that accompany their funerals, where participants often call for the murder of Israelis and urge new terror attacks. The delay is thought to lessen the significance attached to any particular attacker, and so to reduce attendance at the funerals.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report