Thousands of people have attended the funeral of a Palestinian man, who was brutally shot dead by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank.
The 67-year-old Omar Kawasme was shot 13 times in the head while he was sleeping in his home in the city of al-Khalil (Hebron) in the early hours of Friday.
The Israeli army has admitted that Kawasme was an innocent civilian and that the troops mistook him for a Hamas supporter. Israeli soldiers were searching the city to arrest six Hamas men, who were released from jail by the Palestinian Authority on Thursday.
“They murdered him in cold blood with 13 bullets in the head without even checking his identity. After they killed him, they asked for his identity card,” Kawasme’s son told AFP.
Hamas has accused the Palestinian Authority of collaborating with Israel in the killing. Five Palestinians were also arrested during the pre-dawn operation.
“Hamas holds the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank responsible, along with the occupation, for this crime,” Sami Abu Zuhri told a news conference.
“We call on the Palestinian Authority to immediately stop political arrests and to give the resistance a chance to protect the Palestinian people in the West Bank,” he added.
Left with nine children, Kawasme’s wife, Sobheye, who was locked up in another room, said the Israeli soldiers did not allow her to speak and killed her husband as soon as they entered his room.
“About 60 armed soldiers broke into our house before dawn. I was praying when they entered. One of the soldiers forcibly closed my mouth with his hand while another went into my old and ill husband’s room and shot him in the head until he was dead. Everything that happened was simply an act of vengeance on Palestinian families,” she said in tears.
“My crippled son was in the house during the incident, he is in a very rough mental state. I myself have yet to digest the events, how and why it happened. Everything the soldiers said about my husband trying to attack them or interrupt them was a lie – he was killed while he was sleeping. I can barely stand on my own two feet, our economic situation is very bad and I don’t know how I will deal with life after this disaster which has fallen on our heads,” she added.