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Gazan Thought Killed by Israelis Returns Home

Sunday, 04 April 2010 11:07 PM EDT

GAZA CITY — A Palestinian teenager who went missing near the Gaza border last week and was believed to have been killed by Israeli troops has returned home safe after being detained in Egypt, he said on Sunday.

Mohammed al-Faramawi, 15, said he had gone with some friends to Gaza's defunct airport near the borders with Israel and Egypt last Monday "for fun" when they found a smuggling tunnel to Egypt and crawled through it.

They were promptly arrested by Egyptian security forces on the other side and held for several days.

"I didn't know when they announced my death because I was under arrest," Faramawi told AFP. "I didn't find out until I returned on Saturday. When I arrived there were hundreds of people there to welcome me home."

On Tuesday, the day after he disappeared, Palestinian medics and media reported he had been shot dead by Israeli forces near the border.

That same day, Israeli troops had fired on several groups of demonstrators approaching the border to protest in honour of "Land Day," an annual commemoration of six Israeli Arabs killed by Israeli security forces during a 1976 protest against land confiscations.

Several people were wounded in two separate protests, according to local medics, who said Faramawi was shot shortly before a similar demonstration near the southern town of Rafah.

The Israeli military said it had fired warning shots but denied hitting anyone.

Israeli forces frequently shoot at Palestinians approaching the border of the Islamist Hamas-ruled territory, from which militants have fired thousands of rockets at the Jewish state in recent years.

Palestinian medics must coordinate with Israel before they can safely enter the dangerous buffer zone to retrieve bodies.

Last month two Israeli soldiers and two Palestinian militants were killed in fierce clashes along the heavily guarded frontier, but the body of one of the Palestinians was not recovered and identified until more than 24 hours later.

Zeidan al-Faramawi, 42, Mohammed's father, was worried sick when he heard his son was killed.

"When my son's death was announced on the radio and on television on Tuesday I immediately went to the hospital in Rafah, but they didn't have the body," he told AFP. "Every time an ambulance arrived I ran to see if he was inside."

Over the next few days neighbours told the father of six to let go and hold a funeral, while he frantically contacted different hospitals and the Red Crescent Society for any information.

When he received word on Saturday that his son had been detained by Egypt and would soon be released, he held his joy back. "I refused to believe them until I could see him in front of me."

Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved

© Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Sunday, 04 April 2010 11:07 PM
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