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Israel, not suicide, behind inmate’s death, says Palestinians

THE LEVANT  – A Palestinian official said Thursday the results of an autopsy prove that a Palestinian prisoner Israel said had committed suicide actually died of a blow to the head.

“We deny it was suicide,” said Issa Qaraqe, head of the Palestinian committee for prisoners in a press conference on the fate of Raed Abdel Salam al-Jaabari, 35.

The Israel Prisons Service (IPS) had said Tuesday that Jaabari hanged himself in a bathroom at Eshel prison in southern Israel and died en route to hospital.

But Palestinian officials and Jaabari’s family rejected that claim and demanded an investigation.

Jaabari’s body was taken for autopsies by both Israel and the Palestinians, with Israel not yet publishing its findings.

Speaking in the presence of Jaabari family members as well as the Hebron governor, Qaraqe said the central cause of death was “a strong blow to the head” that resulted in internal bleeding.

“We blame Israel,” he said, reiterating similar remarks he made prior to publishing the autopsy results, while warning of legal action against the Jewish state.

Israel has appointed a judge to investigate the death.

An Israeli official told AFP that Jaabari’s cellmate had told lawyers Thursday that Jaabari had indeed committed suicide.

IPS figures show that as of July 31 there were 5,383 Palestinians being held by Israel for security offences.

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