RAMALLAH: Mourners carry the body of Palestinian teenager Ali Abu Aliya during his funeral in the village of Mughayir in the Israeli-occupied West Bank yesterday. - AFP

RAMALLAH: Hundreds of Palestinians attended the funeral yesterday of a teenager killed in clashes with the Israeli army, defying a curfew imposed on the occupied West Bank to stem the coronavirus. Ali Ayman Nasr Abu Aliya, 13, died on Friday after he was "shot with live rounds in the stomach" during clashes in the village of Mughayir, north of Ramallah, the Palestinian health ministry said.

The boy, whose death drew Palestinian condemnation and was deplored by the United Nations and the European Union, was hit during a protest against the construction of a Jewish settlement. A funeral cortege joined by hundreds of mourners took the body from a hospital in Ramallah to Mughayir where Abu Aliya was buried.

His body, draped in the Palestinian flag and a traditional keffiyeh headscarf, was carried shoulder high by mourners, who also waved yellow flags of the Fatah movement of president Mahmoud Abbas. The mourners defied a weekend curfew imposed by Palestinian authorities to stem the rise in coronavirus cases to pay their respects.

The West Bank has recorded 71,703 COVID-19 infections, including 678 deaths, since the first cases emerged earlier this year. The European Union delegation to the Palestinians on Saturday denounced the "shocking" killing of Abu Aliya in a tweet. "This shocking incident must be swiftly and fully investigated by the Israeli authorities in order to bring the perpetrators to justice," it said. "How many more Palestinian children will be subject to the excessive use of lethal force by the Israeli security forces?"

UN Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov said on Friday he was "appalled by the killing" and also called on Israel to investigate the death of Abu Aliya calling it an "unacceptable incident". The Israeli army denied live rounds were used during Friday's protest and clashes, but said dozens of protesters had thrown rocks at security forces.

The Palestinian Authority condemned "the cold-blooded murder" describing it as "the latest episode in Israel's crimes against the Palestinian people". The Palestinian foreign ministry said Friday it will file legal proceedings against Israel at the International Criminal Court over Abu Alya's fatal shooting, the Palestinians' WAFA news agency said.

The Palestinian village of Mughayir is located near several Israeli settlements and has been the site of clashes between Palestinians and Israeli settlers in the past. It is also near the Ras al-Teen area, where Israel has threatened to demolish a school, a move condemned in early November by the European Union, which co-funded its construction. Israel has occupied the West Bank since 1967. Excluding annexed east Jerusalem, more than 450,000 Israelis live in settlements in the territory, home to more than 2.8 million Palestinians. - AFP