Israelis return bodies of dead fighters

Crowds of Palestinians have greeted a convoy of ambulances bringing home the bodies of 15 fighters killed in clashes with Israelis.

    Dozens of Palestinian fighters saluted the bodies in Gaza City

    The bodies were returned by the Israelis on Monday in a gesture understood by Gazans as the first concrete benefit of a truce declared last week.


    Even as the bodies were being returned, Israeli troops in the West Bank city of Hebron on Monday shot and killed a Palestinian they claimed tried to stab a soldier.

      

    On Thursday, the last time a Palestinian was killed by Israeli forces, the resistance group Hamas rained dozens of mortars and rockets on Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip, endangering the truce, then just two days old.


    Both the Hamas and the Islamic Jihad groups have since pledged to halt attacks against Israel but have stopped short of accepting the official truce Palestiniain President Mahmud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon announced last Tuesday.

      

    Also, Palestinians said last-minute disagreements are holding up the handover of Jericho to Palestinian control.

     

    Emotional event

     

    Meanwhile, in Gaza City, tens of thousands of Palestinians poured into the streets as

    15 ambulances carrying the bodies of the fighters rolled into Gaza City's main square, escorted by Palestinian security. Dozens of fighters stood in the square, raising the banners of their groups and saluting the bodies.

      

    The bodies were received by
    Palestinian security officials

    A sign bearing the name of the dead man inside was affixed to the windshield of each ambulance, and the Palestinian police band played the Palestinian national anthem as the convoy proceeded.

      

    The fighters were killed in attacks on Israeli army outposts in Gaza and other Israeli targets over the past two years. It was not clear why Israel kept their remains.

      

    This latest overture is to be followed in the next few days with an Israeli release of 500 Palestinian prisoners and the handover of Jericho, the first of five West Bank towns that Israel has promised to restore to Palestinian control.

     

    However, Palestinians said disagreements over removal of roadblocks is delaying the transfer, tentatively set for Tuesday or Wednesday.

    SOURCE: Unspecified


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    How different voting systems work around the world

    How different voting systems work around the world

    Nearly two billion voters in 52 countries around the world will head to the polls this year to elect their leaders.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Will you push the boundaries or play it safe?

    Will you push the boundaries or play it safe?

    Curate an art exhibition and survive Thailand's censorship crackdown in this interactive game.