Photo via Raid al-Salhi’s Facebook page

Israeli occupation officials continue to refuse to hand over the body of Palestinian prisoner Raed Salhi, who died yesterday of his injuries at the hands of Israeli occupation forces. They shot Salhi, 21, at point-blank range nearly a month ago as they invaded Dheisheh refugee camp in a pre-dawn violent “arrest” raid.

Salhi, an active member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, was left bleeding for over an hour and a half after being shot by occupation forces, causing him to lose a great deal of blood. He was shot with five bullets in the abdomen; the unarmed youth was apparently targeted for murder, even as the Israeli occupation forces claimed that he was “fleeing.”

He has remained in Israeli custody since that time in Hadassah Hospital, where he has been held under heavy armed guard and denied family visits even as he remained unconscious, in a coma and dependent on a ventilator for respiration.

During that time, his detention was extended on multiple occasions by the Ofer military court along with that of Abdel-Aziz Arafa, another young man from Dheisheh refugee camp shot simultaneously by occupation forces. Arafa was shot in the leg and foot, and was brought to the Ofer military court on 29 August on a hospital bed.

Upon the news of his death, large crowds took to the streets of Dheisheh camp, marching to honor Salhi and support his family. A large mourning tent was set up outside the family home by fellow youth activists. Despite expectations that his body would be turned over on Sunday, Salhi’s body remained imprisoned by Israeli occupation forces. Salhi’s body was transfered to Rishon Lezion hospital from Hadassah, Ma’an News reported. 

Karim Ajwa, a Palestinian lawyer with the Prisoners’ Affairs Commission, filed a preliminary petition on Monday, 4 September, demanding that the Israeli state immediately turn over the body of the martyr Raed Salhi.  Palestinian social media accounts in Dheisheh camp said that the legal case would be taken up quickly to demand Salhi’s body be turned over without conditions. The Israeli state has held hostage a number of Palestinians’ bodies slain by occupation forces or imposed conditions on their funerals in attempt to quiet Palestinian outrage and mourning.

Fellow Palestinian prisoner Qusay Abu Srour, also of Dheisheh camp, was released on 4 September and immediately headed to the mourning tent outside Salhi’s home to pay his respects to Salhi’s family and comrades and salute the martyr and his sacrifices.

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Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network mourns the loss of Raed Salhi, Palestinian refugee and beloved member of his community, under armed guard, denied his family even as he lay dying, shot by the bullets of the Israeli occupation. The outrageous murder of Raed Salhi stands once again as a call to all people of conscience in the world to escalate their campaigns to support the Palestinian people in their struggle for justice, return and liberation, including through the international isolation of Israel and building campaigns for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS).