50,000 March in Funeral for Nablus Mayor

Associated Press

About 50,000 Palestinian men, many weeping and others chanting slogans, carried the body of their assassinated mayor through this city today and buried it in the courtyard of a mosque.

The funeral was peaceful, but a Palestinian refugee was shot dead by Israeli soldiers earlier in the day during a demonstration against the slaying of Mayor Zafer Masri.

The funeral procession lasted nearly two hours and was led by Palestinians beating drums and carrying the Palestinian flag, which is banned on the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Foreign dignitaries, including U.S. Consul General Morris Draper, attended the funeral. Local Palestinians said it was the largest gathering ever in this city of 80,000 about 30 miles south of Jerusalem.

In Office Three Months

Masri, 44, a moderate Palestinian appointed three months ago to lead the West Bank's largest city, was gunned down Sunday outside his office. Two pro-Syrian Palestinian groups have claimed responsibility. (Story on Page 5.)

His murder appeared to have set back Israel's plans to increase Palestinian control over local affairs in the territory captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast War.

Israeli military sources said today's shooting occurred when a 57-year-old Palestinian man attacked an Israeli soldier trying to break up a demonstration at the Balata refugee camp on the outskirts of the city.

Only Men at Funeral

At the funeral, Masri's body was placed in a plain wooden box draped with the red, black, green and white Palestinian flag and carried down Nablus' main Faisal Street, through the winding streets of the marketplace to a green-domed mosque.

Only men attended the funeral, but women and children leaned from doorways and windows to watch the procession. Israeli soldiers blocked entrances to Nablus but most kept out of sight during the ceremony.

Several thousand Palestinians, mostly youths, shouted slogans opposing Syrian President Hafez Assad and King Hussein of Jordan, but in support of Palestinian Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat.

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