Israel returns bodies of 23 Palestinian ‘attackers’

Jerusalem, Jan 2 (IANS) Israel on Friday returned the bodies of 23 Palestinians killed in recent attacks against Israelis to the Palestinian authority, the Israeli army said.

Seventeen of the dead Palestinians were from Hebron, three from the area of Ramallah, two from Jenin and one from Nablus, a spokesperson for the army told Xinhua.

The military transferred the bodies to vehicles of the Red Cross at checkpoints in the area of Hebron and in the northern West Bank, the spokesperson added.

Meanwhile, a defense official told the Ha’aretz daily that returning the bodies was a goodwill gesture in order to calm the unrest in the West Bank.

More than 130 Palestinians have been killed during clashes with Israeli security forces since a wave of violence erupted in early October.

Israel did not always immediately return the bodies of Palestinian attackers.

Twenty three Israelis and a US citizen were also killed in lone-wolf shooting, stabbing and vehicular attacks.

Palestinians and Israeli human rights groups charge that Israel used excessive force against Palestinian attackers after the latter no longer pose a threat at the scenes of attacks.

In the latest shooting attack in Tel Aviv on Friday afternoon, two people were killed and six were injured in varying degrees.

However, according to the Israeli police, it is still not clear whether the attack is related to the ongoing wave of violence or nationalistically motivated.

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