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Palestinians hold funeral for teen killed by Israeli fire in Gaza



Palestinians have laid to rest a teenager who lost his life when the Israeli military fired artillery shells into the Gaza Strip in yet another brutal assault against the blockaded territory.

Wednesday’s funeral procession started from Youssef Abou Azra’s family home in al-Shabura refugee camp in Rafah in southern Gaza to the al-Awda mosque, where mourners performed a final prayer for the teen before heading to a nearby cemetery to lay him to rest.

Earlier in the day, the Israeli military shelled a gathering of Palestinian youths in Nahdha neighborhood to the east of Rafah, killing Azra, 15, and injuring two others. Initial reports had said the victim was 18.

The Ministry of Education in Gaza denounced “the Israeli crime,” urging the international community and all human rights organizations to “stand in the face of Israeli aggression.”

It also emphasized “the necessity of prosecuting the Israeli occupation for its crimes that violate all international laws and regulations.”

Palestinian children mourn next to the body of a teenager killed in an Israeli attack during his funeral in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on March 22, 2017. (Photo by AFP)


The Israeli military frequently bombs the Gaza Strip, with civilians being the main target of such attacks.

In the latest such raids, military aircraft launched three airstrikes in the northwestern part of the Gaza Strip on March 18 only hours after the regime’s battle tanks shelled the Palestinian strip.

Last month, the Gaza-based Al Mezan Center for Human Rights expressed concern about Israeli airstrikes, saying the rise in the attacks could be leading up to another wide-scale military offensive.

It called on the international community to “act promptly against Israel’s military escalation.”

Azra became the fourth Palestinian killed by Israeli forces in Gaza since the beginning of 2017, according to the Palestinian Ma’an news agency.

The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli siege since June 2007. The blockade has caused a decline in living standards as well as unprecedented unemployment and poverty.

Israel has also launched several wars on the Palestinian sliver, the last of which began in early July 2014. The Israeli military aggression, which ended on August 26, 2014, killed nearly 2,200 Palestinians. Over 11,100 others were also wounded in the war.

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