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Palestinians mourn 7-year-old boy who died from ‘fear’ of Israeli forces

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Relatives and others mourn as they carry the body of a 7-year-old Palestinian child who died of fear while being chased by Israeli forces, at his funeral in the town of Taquo near Bethlehem, West Bank, on September 30, 2022. (Anadolu Agency)

Thousands of Palestinians have participated in the funeral of the 7-year old Palestinian boy Rayan Suleiman, who died in an Israeli raid.

The Funeral of Rayan took place in the occupied West Bank. The boy lost his life on Thursday as his heart stopped when he was chased alongside other school children by the Israeli occupation forces in the town of Teqoa, southeast of Beit Lahm

Mourners, who filled the streets of Teqoa to mourn Rayan’s death, chanted “we all die, and Palestine lives.” The little boy’s body was wrapped in a Palestinian flag.

Violent confrontations erupted on Friday between Palestinian youths and the Israeli occupation forces after the funeral of the martyred child Rayan.

According to local Palestinian sources, the confrontations began immediately after the funeral of the child, as Palestinian youths began throwing stones at the occupation forces.

Rayyan's father, Yasser, said the Israeli soldiers chased his son to their house alleging that he and the children with him were ‘throwing stones at them’, which caused him to fall from a considerable height.

However, a medical official who inspected the boy’s body told Reuters that even though he reportedly fell from a significant height, his body bore no sign of physical trauma and that the death appeared consistent with heart failure.

Quoted by al-Jazeera, Rayan’s cousin, Mohammed Suleiman said that upon his arrival at his house, Rayan was chased by the soldiers who were yelling at him.

“The soldiers shouted at him that he’s [a] stone thrower,” he said. “He ran away from one side, and the soldier met him from the other side [of the house]. Rayan saw the soldier in front of him, and was shocked and dropped dead out of fear,” he said.

For her part, Hadeel Salman, a neighbour and witness, said Israeli soldiers were “going in all directions looking for any child they could find”.

“The soldiers even summoned my young brother – they told him he threw stones at them and needed to be arrested,” Salman told the source, “He insisted he had nothing to do with it.”

Relatives of the Suleiman family said on Thursday that Rayan had no previous health problems and accused the army of scaring the child to death. On this note, Rayan’s uncle Mohammed said, "He was a completely healthy boy filled with happiness, and within minutes we lost him."

Human rights groups have long accused the Israeli regime of deliberately targeting Palestinian children. 83 Palestinian children were killed in 2021 and 2022, according to Defense for Children International - Palestine (DCIP) data.

The Geneva-based DCIP presented a report in June, saying that the occupying regime had been intensifying its aggression against minors in the occupied Palestinian territory of the West Bank, and the holy occupied city of al-Quds since the start of 2022. It said that as many as 15 Palestinian children have been killed so far in 2022 at the hands of the Israeli forces.

Also, 2021 figures by the DCI-P puts the number of child fatalities caused by the regime at 78, who were killed during a war unleashed by the occupying against the Tel Aviv-blockaded Palestinian territory of the Gaza Strip.

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