Palestinian gunmen seize body of Israeli Druze teenager from Jenin hospital, demand body exchange

Palestinian gunmen seize body of Israeli Druze teenager from Jenin hospital, demand body exchange

Palestinian gunmen seize body of Israeli Druze teenager from Jenin hospital, demand body exchange



CNN

Palestinian gunmen stormed a hospital in Jenin and seized the body of a young Israeli Druze man who had been in a car accident in the West Bank, authorities on both sides of the conflict said on Wednesday. The gunmen are demanding the return of the bodies of Palestinians killed by Israeli troops, they said.

The victim, identified as Tiran Ferro, was involved in the accident on Tuesday along with another civilian, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said in a statement. He is a member of the Druze minority, community leaders told CNN.

Ferro’s father told Israeli media that the teenager was alive and taken off life support at a hospital by a group of Palestinian gunmen.

But Jenin Governor Akram Rajoub told CNN that Ferro was dead when his body was taken.

Ferro’s father said: “When we were at the hospital, we were standing in front of the intensive care unit. My son was connected to the ventilator and had a heartbeat. I was with my brother and my son, suddenly a group of 20 masked men came screaming into the room. We stood there and there was nothing we could have done.

“They kidnapped the body in front of my eyes,” Ferro’s father told reporters on camera.

The Jenin Brigade, a Palestinian militant group based in the West Bank refugee camp, said in a statement obtained by CNN that it was holding Ferro’s body and demanded that Israel hand over all bodies of Palestinians killed by the IDF in Israeli possession. The group also said it had raised a state of alert among its members in anticipation of Israeli forces storming the Jenin camp.

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid vowed on Wednesday that “the kidnappers would pay a heavy price” if Tiran’s body was not returned: “Israel has proven in recent months that there is no place and no terrorist that they do not know how to reach.”

Lapid said Ferro would celebrate his 18th birthday on Thursday.

Tor Wennesland, the UN’s special coordinator for the peace process in the Middle East, is involved in the negotiations with the Palestinian group for the release of Ferro’s body back to Israel, a spokesperson told CNN.

The IDF said Ferro and another person had entered Jenin via the Gilboa-Jalame crossing, which has since been closed following Wednesday’s explosions in Jerusalem.

The other person involved in the accident was seriously injured, they added.

The IDF said the body of the deceased was taken from the hospital and is expected to be returned to Israel shortly, “as a necessary humanitarian act.”

After the two explosions on Wednesday in Jerusalem, Israel’s Ministry of Defense decided to close the Gilboa-Jalame and Salem crossings after a security evaluation, a spokesperson for the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) said.

Tensions have been particularly high for months in Jenin, amid an increase in armed attacks on Israeli troops and civilians this year.

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