Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, Syria bury dead
DAMASCUS, Syria – Tens of thousands of Palestinians in Lebanon and Syria carried coffins through the streets of their refugee camps Monday as they buried those killed when protesters marched on Israel's border.
Israeli forces opened fire on thousands of Arab protesters who marched toward Israel's borders with Syria, Lebanon and Gaza on Sunday in an unprecedented wave of demonstrations, killing at least 15 people, including 10 in Lebanon.
The Palestinians were marking a Palestinian day of mourning for their displacement in the war that followed Israel's creation in 1948.
"We couldn't save him, he was killed as he was trying to smash through the barbed wire fence," said Abdullah Siyam, a friend of 30-year-old Obada Zaghmout who was among the dead in the Golan Heights.
Tens of thousands of Palestinians and Syrians in the Yarmouk refugee camp took part in the funeral procession for some of those killed during clashes between Israeli troops and Arab protesters on the Golan Heights.
The Palestinian and Syrian protesters stormed the border fence and hundreds burst through, pelting Israeli soldiers with stones. Israeli soldiers guarding the border opened fire to stop them.
Syria's state-run news agency said four protesters were killed and more than 200 wounded, but Palestinian officials said five Palestinians died.
Mourners at the Yarmouk camp on Monday carried three coffins on their shoulders from the mosque to Martyrs Cemetery, about a mile (two kilometers) away.
The coffins, wrapped in Palestinian flags, passed through the camp's narrow streets to the cemetery as shouts of "God is great" rose from the crowd.
Women on balconies showered mourners with rice and flowers, a traditional symbol of grief. Mourners, waving Palestinian flags and holding up posters of the three men, shouted: "The people want to liberate Palestine."
Shops and schools in Yarmouk camp closed Monday in a show of mourning. Mourners burned drawings of Israeli flags.
Midhat Saleh, one of the demonstrators who was wounded by the Israeli gunfire and hospitalized to a hospital in Quneitra, told The Associated Press in a telephone call that the march to the Israeli border should be repeated as long as Israel is occupying Arab lands.
In south Lebanon, thousands of Palestinians at the Ein el-Hilweh refugee camp fired guns in the air and carried coffins wrapped with Palestinian flags through the streets.
Palestinians declared Monday a day of mourning for those who died in the clash, the deadliest incident along the volatile border in five years.