West Bank clashes erupt after funeral

2013-02-25 21:50
Palestinian women mourn during the funeral of Arafat Jaradat in the West Bank town of Saeer, near Hebron. (Bernat Armangue, AP)

Palestinian women mourn during the funeral of Arafat Jaradat in the West Bank town of Saeer, near Hebron. (Bernat Armangue, AP)

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Tel Aviv - Palestinians clashed with Israeli soldiers in the West Bank on Monday after the funeral of a Palestinian who died in an Israeli jail.

Thousands attended the funeral of Arafat Jaradat, 30, whose death on Saturday sparked riots across the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

The Palestinians say he died of torture.

Israel says the initial autopsy could not determine the cause of death and further tests are needed.

Israeli forces have been on high alert.

A military spokesperson said Monday's clashes were smaller in scale than those at the weekend.

She said violence broke out in Betunia, near an Israeli military prison outside Ramallah, and in Beit Anoun, near the city of Hebron.

She said protesters burned tyres and threw rocks at Israeli troops, who responded with tear gas and rubber bullets.

Jaradat was arrested on 18 February and accused of throwing a rock and injuring an Israeli citizen.

Some 4 500 Palestinians in Israeli jails held a one-day hunger strike on Sunday.

Some 1 100 prisoners in Megiddo prison in northern Israel, where Jaradat died, have continued the strike.

The riots, as well as violent protests last week in support of four hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners, have led to fears in Israel that a new uprising could be starting.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has urged the Palestinians to calm the situation.

On Monday he met with security chiefs.

According to the Ha'aretz newspaper, Israeli troops in the West Bank have been ordered to display extra restraint before opening fire on protesters.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas blamed Israel for the violence and urged calm, asking his people not to give Israel an excuse to exacerbate the situation.

"Israel wants to take us to a stage we do not want, and they have to bear responsibility for their actions," he said in Ramallah.

Abbas added that Palestinians "insist on knowing how Jaradat died."

Read more on:    mahmoud abbas  |  benjamin netanyahu  |  israel  |  west bank  |  palestine

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