HEBRON – Thousands of members and leaders of Palestinian factions gathered in Hebron on Thursday for the funeral of Maissara Abu Hamdiyeh, amid calls for a third intifada.

The 63-year-old Palestinian died of cancer in an Israeli jail on Tuesday.

Thousands of people waved the flags of several Palestinian parties, held photos of Abu Hamdiyeh and chanted slogans about avenging his death.

Protesters labeled Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu a slaughterer and called on the factions’ armed wings to target Israeli cities.

While waiting for the body to be brought out from the mosque, the crowds cheered on masked members of the Aksa Martyrs Brigades, Fatah’s armed wing, fired in the air.

Later, at the cemetery, they fired a 21-gun salute.

“We are waiting for the green light from PA President Mahmoud Abbas to respond to all crimes carried out by the Israeli occupation,” said one brigade member.

Members of Fatah’s military wing urged the international community to put pressure on Israel to release all Palestinians in its jails.

“We are frustrated. I hope that a third intifada will take place, because what was taken by force will only come back by force,” Mustafa, a 30-year-old Fatah member, told The Jerusalem Post as he stood on a high wall overlooking the cemetery.

Abu Hamdiyeh served 11 years in jail. His funeral was delayed to allow time for a Palestinian-Jordanian autopsy carried out at Al-Quds University in Abu Dis, next to Jerusalem. Israel said that he died of esophageal cancer but Palestinians believe that he suffered from poor treatment in jail.

Palestinian Authority Minister for Prisoners Affairs Issa Qaraqi said on Wednesday that the initial results of the autopsy confirmed that Abu Hamdiyeh died of cancer.

The body was moved from Ahli Hospital to the Abu Aysha mosque and was buried in a military funeral at the Martyrs Cemetery.

A retired member of PA’s Preventive Security Forces, Abu Hamdiyeh was considered a leader who played an important role in the first intifada.

Several posters hung in Hebron praised him as a “leader” and a “martyr.”

Symbolic funerals took place in several West Bank cities and in the Gaza Strip, where participants walked behind empty coffins.

“Although we don’t expect Israel to be humane to our prisoners, we heard the news that Israel was about to release him to spend his final days with his family, but we were surprised to hear of his death,” Ahmed, a 35- year-old mourner, told the Post.

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