Funeral of Yousef Ikhlayl Attacked by Israeli Military, Dozens Injured

29 January 2011

On January 29th, 2011, thousands of residents of Beit Ommar as well as from surrounding villages attended the funeral of Yousef Fakhri Ikhlayl, the 17-year-old boy shot in the head by Israeli settlers the day before. Yousef was brain-dead in Al-Ahli Hospital in Hebron before succumbing to his wounds early in the morning.

The Israeli military attacked the funeral around 12pm, shooting live and rubber bullets into the crowd as well as throwing sound bombs and tear gas. Over 40 people suffered from a range of injuries that included live gunshot wounds, none of which appeared serious.

After noon-time prayers an estimated 10,000 people carried Yousef’s body through the streets of Beit Ommar. The villagers also waved Palestinian flags and chanted against the occupation. As the crowd neared the military tower at the entrance to the village on the way to the cemetery, soldiers within the tower began throwing sound bombs and tear gas into the crowd. Several funeral participants responded by throwing stones at the tower.

More Israeli Forces in jeeps and on foot came into the area and began shooting live and rubber bullets. Most of the crowd dispersed at this point, carrying the injured people away. Several residents stayed and continued to confront the occupying army with stones. Soldiers closed the entrance to the village for four hours and occupied three buildings. including one of the village schools. The army continued shooting gas and ammunition at people and houses alike until about 3pm. At one point, weaponry was used against a Palestinian ambulance attempting to give first aid to an injured person.

Contrary to claims by the Israeli Military of “clashes” in Beit Ommar and Saffa between Israeli settlers and Palestinian resident the day before when Yousef was shot, in reality he was murdered while working on his family’s fields with his father. About 100 armed settlers from Bat Ayn entered Palestinian land and began shooting live ammunition, fatally injuring Yousef and also wounding another 16-year-old boy in his arm. It took the Israeli Military almost two hours to arrive in the area, at which point they escorted the settlers away instead of arresting those responsible for ending the life of a 17-year-old boy.