Over 200 attend funeral of Arab teen who attacked checkpoint officers with butcher knife

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld says that despite the charged atmosphere and Arab reports of rioting, no disturbances took place during the procession and ceremony.

April 27, 2015 22:20
1 minute read.

Palestinians fire weapons into the air during the funeral of Palestinian Ali Abu Ghannam in the east Jerusalem neighbourhood of A-Tur April 27. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Ali Abu Ghannam, the 16-year-old Arab who was shot dead Saturday night after charging border policemen with a butcher knife at a checkpoint near Ma’aleh Adumim, was buried in Jerusalem early Monday morning.

According to Palestinian media reports, over 200 mourners – some of whom donned masks and fired pistols into the air – attended the dawn funeral at a cemetery in Abu Ghannam’s neighborhood of a-Tur.

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Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said that despite the charged atmosphere and Arab reports of rioting, no disturbances took place during the procession and ceremony.

Abu Ghannam attacked border policemen with a cleaver at a checkpoint near Ma’aleh Adumim and then fled, with troops giving chase and firing warning shots in the air, police said.

Upon reaching a second checkpoint, the teen drew another knife and ran toward security guards there. He was killed by police gunfire after ignoring their warnings to stop, police said.

Abu Ghannam’s family has rejected the Israeli account of the incident. One relative, Muhammad Abu Ghannam, said he does not believe the teen was armed, and alleged that he was on his way back from a friend’s party when he was killed.

Several hours after Abu Ghannam’s death, a riot erupted in a-Tur, resulting in one lightly wounded police officer and reports of up to 20 Arab injuries, although no arrests were made.

The family initially refused to receive his body, because Israeli authorities had ordered a limit on the number of people allowed at the burial. It is unclear if the number was subsequently increased.

The Wadi Hilweh Information Center reported that Abu Ghannam’s body was returned at 2 a.m. on Monday morning, “two hours after the midnight time frame dictated by the Israelis themselves.”

In a statement on Saturday, the Palestinian Authority condemned the killing and dismissed charges that he had tried to stab soldiers. “This crime proves the cruelty and criminality of the occupation against the defenseless Palestinian people,” it said.

The PA went on to accuse the Israeli authorities of “creating unfounded justifications for carrying out its crimes,” which police patently denied.

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