- Title: WEST BANK: Palestinians bury remains of two suicide bombers returned by Israel
- Date: 3rd February 2014
- Summary: BETHLEHEM, WEST BANK (FEBRUARY 3, 2014) (REUTERS) HUNDREDS OF PALESTINIANS GATHERED BESIDE VEHICLE CARRYING THE REMAINS OF AYAT AL AKHRAS AND DAOUD ABU SWAY MOURNERS CARRYING COFFIN OF AYAT AL AKHRAS PEOPLE CHANTING AND MARCHING THREE LARGE POSTERS OF AYAT AL AKHRAS POSTER SHOWING AL AKHRAS WRAPPED IN A KEFFIYEH AND CARRYING A RIFLE MOURNERS PRAYING OVER THE TWO BODIES TWO COFFINS SIDE BY SIDE VARIOUS OF PEOPLE STANDING DURING FUNERAL PROCESSION PEOPLE WAVING FLAGS AND CARRYING THE TWO COFFINS MORE OF PEOPLE WAVING PALESTINIAN AND FACTION FLAGS MOURNERS CARRYING COFFIN YOUNG MEN CLAPPING AND CHEERING PEOPLE MARCHING MASKED YOUTH CARRYING PALESTINIAN FLAGS (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) RESIDENT OF DHEISHE REFUGEE, OSAMA AL JAFARI, SAYING: "The value and status of martyrs for Palestinian residents is very high. Martyrs are more honourable than all of us. In my opinion, this is normal, that martyrs would be among their people, in the cemeteries of martyrs, and that they would be given a funeral that befits them, and that they would be buried according to our religious beliefs and traditions." VARIOUS OF HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE GATHERED DURING FUNERAL PROCESSION MOURNERS CARRYING COFFINS
- Embargoed: 18th February 2014 12:00
- Location: West bank
- Country: Palestinian Territories
- Topics: General
- Reuters ID: LVA541G25LGWFMTZ7HZ3C8SZLRQY
- Story Text: Hundreds of palestinians in the West Bank city of Bethlehem held a funeral procession on Monday (February 3) for two Palestinian suicide bombers whose remains were returned by Israel.
Hundreds of Palestinians marched and chanted in the streets as they carried the remains of Ayat al Akhras and Daoud Abu Sway, who detonated themselves in Israel in two separate suicide attacks more than 12 years ago, at the height of the second Intifada or uprising.
The coffins were returned late on Sunday (February 2) as part of a move by Israel to exhume the bodies of a number of Palestinian militants and return them to their families for burial.
The move could help ease tension between the adversaries.
Israel and the Palestinians are currently locked in peace talks being mediated by the United States that are showing scant signs of progress.
Israel has over many years interred the bodies of militants killed in attacks on Israelis at special cemeteries. It has returned them sporadically, usually as part of amnesties or prisoner exchanges.
Osama al-Jafari a resident of Dheishe refugee camp, the hometown of al Akhras, said that it is important for Palestinians that suicide bombers be buried according to Islamic tradition.
"The value and status of martyrs for Palestinian residents is very high. Martyrs are more honourable than all of us. In my opinion, this is normal, that martyrs would be among their people, in the cemeteries of martyrs, and that they would be given a funeral that befits them, and that they would be buried according to our religious beliefs and traditions," al Jafari said.
In 2012, in a gesture aimed at helping to restart peace talks, Israel returned the remains of 91 Palestinian militants who it said had killed hundreds of Israelis over a period spanning four decades.
As part of the current talks, which got under way last year, Israel has freed 76 Palestinians from detention, many of whom were accused of killing Israelis. It is set to release another 26 in the coming weeks.
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