Thursday, 1 September 2016

After 325 days, Israel returns body of slain Palestinian Bahaa Elayyan to his family

Israeli authorities returned the body of Palestinian Bahaa Elayyan on Thursday at dawn, allowing his family -- which has been leading the movement advocating for Israel to release slain Palestinians' bodies -- to bury him 325 days after his death.

Elayyan, a 22-year-old resident of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabal al-Mukabbir, was killed alongside another Palestinian after they attacked an Israeli bus with on Oct. 13, killing three Israelis with knives and a gun.

His body was buried at the al-Mujahidin cemetery near the Old City of Jerusalem, in accordance with stipulations from Israeli police, which has allowed the release of bodies of slain Palestinians from East Jerusalem accused of "terrorism" on the condition that they no longer have funerals in their neighborhoods or villages, but would instead be buried in cemeteries chosen by the police.

The stipulation comes amid a wider set of preconditions for the release, as only 25 people were allowed to attend Elayyan’s funeral, and his family was made to pay a 20,000 shekel ($5,292) “insurance fee” to make sure they abided by the rules.

Israeli forces were heavily deployed in the area ahead of the funeral, as attendees were searched three times at checkpoints and saw their phones confiscated during the burial. Israeli forces also reportedly prevented people who were not on the submitted list from entering the cemetery.

Israeli police also reportedly photographed people inside the cemetery. more