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Nablus: PA forces crack down on funeral of Palestinian killed by Israel

Palestinian Authority forces fire teargas and sound bombs at the crowd marching behind Hamas member's coffin
Mourners march with the body of Abdel Fatah Hussein Khroushah, 49, who was killed in an Israeli raid on Jenin refugee camp, 8 March 2023 (AFP)
Mourners march with the body of Abdel Fatah Hussein Khroushah, 49, who was killed in an Israeli raid on Jenin refugee camp, 8 March 2023 (AFP)

Security forces of the Palestinian Authority (PA) cracked down on the funeral of Abdel Fatah Hussein Khroushah, 49, on Wednesday, after he was killed in an Israeli raid on the Jenin refugee camp a day earlier.

PA forces fired teargas and sound bombs at the crowd who marched behind Khroushah's coffin in Nablus city, north of the occupied West Bank. Several Palestinians suffered from suffocation.

Video footage shows members of the Palestinian Special Police suppressing the funeral, trying to block its way, and arresting a number of people.

'The assault by the PA on Khroushah's funeral is a moral and patriotic degradation and disgrace'

– Hazem Qassem, Hamas spokesman

Palestinians shouted slogans, calling PA security forces and officials "prostitutes" and "spies" for Israel. PA forces have stood idle during several recent Israeli raids on Palestinian towns in the West Bank, despite boasting that they exist to protect the people.

Talal Dweikat, spokesman for the Palestinian security service, said the Special Police intervened when "a group unrelated to the martyr's family kidnapped the body and lowered it to the ground", according to Wafa news agency.

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"An altercation occurred while they were chanting against the [Palestinian] national authority and the security services, instead of cursing the [Israeli] occupation that committed crimes against our people," Dweikat added.

Khroushah shot two Israeli settlers as they sat in their car in the Palestinian town of Huwwara late last month. He was a member of Hamas and a resident of Askar refugee camp in Nablus.

Khroushah spent a total of nine years in Israeli jails for his political and military activism. He was released from prison in December 2022 after serving a four-year sentence for planning to target Israelis.

He was a member of Hamas' military wing al-Qassam brigades, which claimed responsibility for the shooting of the two Israeli settlers in Huwwara on 26 February. 

On Tuesday, Khroushah and five other Palestinians were killed during an Israeli undercover raid, an operation that threatened to increase tensions - already at boiling point - in the West Bank.

Hazem Qassem, a Hamas spokesman, said, "The assault by the PA on Khroushah's funeral is a moral and patriotic degradation and disgrace."

Other factions also condemned the crackdown, including the Popular Resistance Committees in Palestine, which is active in Nablus and Jenin.

Khroushah's funeral procession started from Rafidia Hospital, where hundreds of Palestinians gathered at noon.

General strike

Palestinians called for a general strike on Wednesday in different cities in the West Bank, and the closure of shops, schools and universities following the killing of the six Palestinians.

During the raid on the Jenin refugee camp, Israel deployed large military reinforcements followed by dozens of armoured vehicles, military helicopters, snipers, drones and bulldozers.

Night terror: The Israeli raids of Palestinian homes in the West Bank
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Israeli forces also stormed the Askar refugee camp in Nablus and arrested one of Khroushah's sons, who was released from jail late last year after serving a sentence for planning to target settlers.

Jordan's foreign ministry condemned the "Jenin massacre" on Tuesday.

Spokesperson Sinan Majali said Jordan stressed the "need to de-escalate and an immediate end to all raids against the Palestinian people.

"The continuation of such raids will only deteriorate the situation even further and undermine efforts aimed at achieving calm," he said.

Turkey's foreign ministry also condemned the attack on Jenin and the rampage by settlers in West Bank towns and villages.

The ministry warned of "an escalation of tension" and "spiral of violence in the region" which could hinder efforts to reduce tensions as the holy month of Ramadan approaches.

"We renew our calls to prevent violence and put an end to these attacks, and we urge the Israeli government to exercise wisdom and act responsibly," it said. 

Israeli forces have killed at least 71 Palestinians since the start of this year, more than one killing every day. 

It's the bloodiest start to a year since 2000, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

At least 13 Israelis were killed by Palestinians in the same period.

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