Thousands mourn Druze teen whose body was snatched by Palestinians

Tiran Fero, a Druze teenager whose remains were snatched from a hospital in the West Bank by terrorists, was buried Thursday afternoon hours after his body was returned to his family.

Thousands of mourners walked in Fero’s funeral procession, in his predominantly Druze hometown of Daliyat al-Karmel in northern Israel, on what would have been his 18th birthday.

“It is incredibly sad that we are accompanying him to his final resting place instead of celebrating his big dreams,” said Fero’s uncle Eddy at the funeral, according to Channel 13. “We are now starting to internalize this disaster. I hope that our whole family this disaster and mourning can survive.”

Fero’s uncle also pleaded for peace in his cousin’s eulogy. “We are a peaceful group,” he said of Israel’s Druze minority. “I ask everyone to act peacefully after the funeral. No more lives should be lost. Let’s return to a quiet life.”

Addressing the mourners, Mayor Rafik Halabi described Fero as a lover of life with big plans for the future. “Instead of accompanying him to his wedding, we wrapped him in shrouds,” he said, echoing what Fero’s father said earlier Thursday about the painful irony of burying his son on what would have been his birthday.

Fero was seriously injured in a car accident in Jenin on Tuesday and was taken to a hospital in the Palestinian city on Tuesday. He died at Ibn Sina Hospital in Jenin, and his body was later snatched by unidentified gunmen, according to reports from the IDF and Palestinian media.

Family and friends mourn during Tiran Fero’s funeral procession in Daliyat al-Karmel, northern Israel, Nov. 24, 2022. Photo (Shir Torem/Flash90)

Although his family claimed Palestinian gunmen took him off life support when they snatched him from the hospital, the military and a senior defense source insisted he was already dead when he was taken.

His body was returned to his family in Israel early Thursday morning after being held by terrorists in the West Bank for about 30 hours. The body was handed over at the Salem border crossing near Jenin after intense negotiations between senior government and security officials from the governments of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, reports said.

Tiran Fero. (courtesy)

Unnamed security officials said the suspects had demanded the release of Palestinians detained by Israel or the bodies of deceased Palestinian terrorists held by Israel in exchange for Fero, who was a senior in high school.

But Israel ultimately gave nothing in exchange for the body, a senior defense source told reporters Thursday morning, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“We have not negotiated with those who held the body. We have not returned anything,” said the source. “We have made it clear that this body will go back to the family. The Palestinian Authority pressed to end the saga quickly because of its embarrassment, and in Jenin the kidnappers lost support after the public understood that it would pay a heavy financial price.

Emanuel Fabian contributed to this report.

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