Mourners carry the body of the Palestinian teenager Hassan Shalabi who was killed by Israeli soldiers’ gunfire during his funeral in the central Gaza Strip, on Feb. 9, 2019. (Xinhua/Yasser Qudih)
GAZA, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) — Hundreds of grieved and outraged Palestinian mourners buried on Saturday two teenagers, who were shot and killed on Friday by Israeli soldiers’ gunfire near the border between the eastern Gaza Strip and Israel.
Wrapped by Palestinian flags, Hassan Shalabi, 14, from Gaza’s southern city of Khan Younis, and Hamza Ishteiwi, 18, from Gaza City, were buried in the afternoon in two separate funerals.
Each funeral was joined by hundreds of mourners, who carried the bodies of the two on their shoulders and chanted slogans calling for revenge.
According to Ashraf al-Qedra, spokesman of the Gaza health ministry, Ishteiwi was shot in his neck and Shalabi in his chest, while 17 others were injured in the same clashes.
At one of the two funerals, Ismail Radwan, a senior Hamas leader, accused Israel of committing another “humanitarian crime against innocent civilians.”
The two teenagers were killed “by cold blood” when they were standing very far away from the rallies, Radwan said.
“The crime of the occupation against children will not pass without punishment,” he added, calling on the world’s rights groups to stand in the face of Israel and stop its crimes.
Relatives of the 14-year-old Palestinian Hassan Shalabi who was killed by Israeli soldiers’ gunfire mourn during his funeral in the central Gaza Strip, on Feb. 9, 2019. (Xinhua/Yasser Qudih)
Meanwhile, Khader Habib, a senior Islamic Jihad leader from Gaza who attended the funeral, stressed that the peaceful rallies “will go on until the goals are achieved.”
Since late March last year, the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have been carrying out weekly protests, known as the Great March of Return, against Israel’s 12-year crippling blockade on the coastal enclave.
According to the Gaza health ministry, more than 250 Palestinians, including 47 children, have since been killed and around 26,000 others injured, with 40 percent shot by live gunfire.
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), a Gaza-based rights group, condemned in a press statement the killing of the two teenagers.
“The Israeli occupation forces carry out crimes and rely on the American immunity, and this encourages Israel to keep committing more crimes,” PCHR said.
“The Palestinians have the right to peacefully demonstrate and opening live ammunition at them is a severe violation of the human rights laws and the Fourth Geneva Convention,” it added.
There has been no immediate comment from the Israeli army on the killing of the two Gazans, but an Israeli army spokesman said on Friday that the Palestinian factions “are using terrorist means, such as bombs, in the protests, which risks the lives of other demonstrators.”