Israel Agrees to Release Bodies of Hebron Knife Attackers
Israel agreed to release the bodies of five Palestinians on Friday who were shot by Israeli security forces in the Hebron area recently in the middle of carrying out terror attacks.
Hebron Mayor Dr. Daoud Zatari told local Arabic radio on Friday that Israel agreed to return the bodies only after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas — who has blamed Israel for the recent violence — pursued the issue in international fora, requesting the bodies be returned to their families for proper burial.
The move was likely meant to mitigate the seething tensions between Palestinians and Israeli security forces in the area, where clashes have been ongoing for days. Israel’s agreement to return the bodies even came after some officials, including Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, sought to bar the return of terrorists’ bodies to their families.
According to AFP, Palestinian anger swelled around Israel’s refusal to return the bodies of many alleged attackers, further fueling demonstrations, riots and clashes with Israeli security forces in the area.
The Israeli army has also carried out a limited number of house demolitions of terrorists homes, another tactic that has enraged Palestinians, but which Israel says is necessary to deter further attacks. The Israel Defense Forces chief of staff, Gadi Eizenkot, said last week that the army has been seeking to restore quiet after weeks of clashes and terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians and security forces, though he added no end was in sight.
On Thursday, Israeli forces shot two Palestinians in the middle of attacks and clashes continued into Friday, with more than a dozen Palestinian rioters injured according to reports.