Personal belongings are removed from the home of Hamza Abu al-Haija, killed in Jenin by Israeli forces/Photo: VOA
Over 10,000 Palestinians mourned on Saturday three militants who were shot dead by Israeli forces overnight during clashes in Jenin refugee camp. The mourners marched from Jenin's public hospital to its largest mosque, carrying the bodies of Hamza Abu al-Haija, 22, Mahmoud Abu Zeina, 17, and 22-year-old Yazan Mahmoud Basim Jabarin. Seven additional Palestinians were injured.
After performing the funeral prayer the mourners marched to Jenin camp's cemetery, led by officials of the PLO, the Palestinian Authority, Fatah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad.
In a joint statement, Hamas' military wing al-Qassam Brigades, Fatah's al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, and Islamic Jihad's al-Quds Brigades threatened a "painful" retaliation against Israel.
Nabil Abu Rdeina, the official spokesperson for Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, denounced the killings, describing them as part of "systematic Israeli policy aimed at destroying everything." Abu Rdeina urged the U.S. administration to take action before peace talks collapsed.
Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for Hamas stated that "what happened in the Jenin refugee camp represents a heinous crime," and held the occupation government responsible for its repercussions and consequences. Barhoum also accused the Palestinian Authority of complicity in the killings.
Hamas issued a statement Saturday urging the PA and its security forces to halt security coordination with the Israeli occupation, and to release all the political prisoners immediately.
The Islamic organization also called on the Palestinian people and factions to unite and support the resistance as the only way to liberate Palestine.
On Saturday morning a large number of Israeli soldiers surrounded a house in Jenin refugee camp where Abul Haija and several Palestinian resistance fighters barricaded themselves. Armed clashes erupted as Abul Haija and his friends refused to surrender.
Confrontations also erupted between the Israeli soldiers and the many Palestinians who rushed to the house trying to end the siege. Israeli soldiers shot tear gas at the people, causing dozens of cases of suffocation.
Israeli radio confirmed that a number of Israeli soldiers were injured, while the residents in the Jenin camp asserted that an Israeli soldier was killed during the armed clashes. When Israeli troops withdrew from the camp, dozens of its inhabitants headed to the hospital, urging Palestinian resistance factions to take revenge and calling on the PA to immediately end peace negotiations with Israel.