Ramallah: Bodies of 79 Palestinian fighters returned to familiesNews Ramallah, West Bank - 31 May 2012
In Ramallah, families once again mourned the deaths of 79 of their loved ones who they claim are martyrs, on May 31, 2012. The remains were released as a goodwill gesture to the Palestinians and their Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Thursday morning, 91 coffins were given to the PA for reburial. 79 were brought to Ramallah but the rest were returned to Gaza.
In Ramallah, the capital city of the West Bank, families waited at the presidential headquarters. A military funeral with a 21 bullet tribute was given to the dead and their families.
“Our martyrs are now physically with us after they were with us only in our minds and hearts,” Palestinian Authority Secretary-General Tayyeb Abdul Rahim told the hundreds of families who waited to take their sons and daughters to be buried in their hometowns.
Most of the remains were those of young men and women killed in suicide attacks in Israel or in battles with Israeli soldiers over the past decade or so. But some were of those Palestinian fighters killed since the mid 1970s during cross-border attacks and hostage-holding skirmishes.
Palestinian groups had filed legal action in legal in order to have the remains released. Previously, the graves were marked only with numbers, and in Israeli territory. Activist groups say there are still another 200 Palestinians buried in special Israeli cemeteries.