Prisoner’s death stokes fear of a third uprising

SAEER - Thousands have joined the funeral procession in the West Bank for a 30-year-old Palestinian who died under disputed circumstances in Israeli custody.

By (AFP)

Published: Mon 25 Feb 2013, 8:54 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 5:41 PM

Palestinian officials say autopsy results show Arafat Jaradat was tortured by Israeli interrogators. Israeli officials say there’s no conclusive cause of death and that more tests are needed.

His death comes at a time of rising tensions in the West Bank. It has stoked Israeli fears of a third Palestinian uprising.

Palestinian police kept order as Jaradat’s funeral got under way in his village of Saeer on Monday.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli officials traded accusations, each side saying the other is provoking violence for political gains.

Abbas says Palestinians want peace and won’t be provoked, despite what he says are more lethal tactics by Israeli troops.

Meanwhile, militants of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the armed wing of president Mahmud Abbas’s Fatah movement, vowed on Monday to avenge Jaradat’s death.

“This horrific crime will not go unpunished and we promise the Zionist occupation that we will respond to this crime,” said a statement distributed to crowds at his, while armed and masked members of the militant group watched from rooftops, journalists at the scene reported.

“Al Aqsa brigades, the armed wing of the Fatah national liberation movement, mourns with all pride its hero, the martyr of freedom, the prisoner Arafat Jaradat,” the statement said, in reference to Jaradat’s membership of the group. Israeli forces stayed just outside the village. Palestinians have been staging regular protests demanding the release of prisoners, particularly several who are hunger strike, but the tension soared after Jaradat’s death.

Palestinian minister of prisoner affairs Issa Qaraqaa on Sunday accused Israel of torturing Jaradat to death, citing the preliminary findings of an Israeli-Palestinian autopsy.

Qaraqaa said the autopsy carried out at Israel’s national forensic institute in the presence of a Palestinian doctor, indicated bruises on Jaradat’s torso and damage to muscles, as well as broken ribs.

Israel released a similar account of the post mortem but stressed that there were “fractures in the ribs” which “could be testimony to resuscitation efforts.” “These preliminary findings are not sufficient to determine the cause of death,” a statement from Israel’s health ministry read, noting that microscopic and toxicological findings were still pending.

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