Israeli police holding gunman's corpse
By IAN DEITCH, Associated Press Writer
Mon Mar 10, 5:18 PM ET
JERUSALEM - Israeli police are holding the body of the Palestinian gunman who killed eight students at a Jerusalem seminary last week until his family is able to hold a low-key funeral without media coverage, a police spokesman said Monday. ADVERTISEMENT
"A mass funeral for a dead terrorist could create a violent public disturbance," said Shmulik Ben-Ruby, a Jerusalem police spokesman.
Alaa Abu Dheim, a 25-year-old Palestinian from Jerusalem, used an assault rifle and handgun to shoot students in a library of the Mercaz Harav yeshiva in Jerusalem on Thursday, killing seven teenagers and a 26-year-old at the prestigious rabbinical institute.
Abu Dheim was shot dead at the scene by an off-duty army officer living nearby.
No group took responsibility for the attack on the seminary, a leading spiritual home of the settlement movement, but the radical Islamic movement Hamas applauded the attack and distributed candy on the streets of Gaza in celebration.
The family of the gunman set up a traditional mourning tent Friday and Israeli media showed footage of Hamas flags there, raising police fears that a big funeral could spiral into a riot by militant supporters.
Police are insisting on a small ceremony of no more than five immediate relatives, with no press coverage, a friend of the gunman's family said, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of getting himself into trouble with police.
"The family agreed but the media showed up" during an attempt Monday, he said. "We had to cancel the funeral; we are hoping it will happen tomorrow."
Police said the body would be released for burial as soon as its conditions were met