Palestinians Protest / West Bank
Palestinians Protest / West Bank

Thousands of Palestinians have gathered in the West Bank for funerals of a prisoner who died in an Israeli jail and two youths who were killed as they protested his death by fighting Israeli troops on the streets.

Angry crowds joined the funeral procession for prisoner Maysara Abu Hamdiyeh in Hebron on Thursday. Palestinians accuse Israel of medical negligence in the 64-year-old's death from throat cancer two days earlier.

Israel said Hamdiyeh, a heavy smoker, had received medical care in prison. He was serving a life sentence for attempted murder in a foiled 2002 bomb plot against a Jerusalem cafe.

Israeli authorities said Palestinian youths attacked Israeli troops with firebombs near the West Bank city of Tulkarm late Wednesday, prompting the soldiers to open fire. Palestinians said two of the youths, aged between 17 and 19, were killed by shots to the head and chest.

Mourners called for revenge as they held a funeral march for the youths in the town of Anabta.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of trying to "ignite chaos" and said it will be responsible for negative impacts on U.S. efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is due to visit Jerusalem next week to try to revive the negotiations.

In another development Thursday, Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired a rocket into southern Israel for the third straight day. Israel carried out airstrikes in northern Gaza a day earlier for the first time since it agreed to a November truce with Hamas militants who run the territory.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday Israel will respond "forcefully" if Gaza militants continue the rocket fire.

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