Palestinian prisoner dies as hunger strike spreads
A Palestinian prisoner died in an Israeli jail yesterday, officials said, as the number of inmates on hunger strike climbed to 11, according to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club.
Arafat Jaradat was “arrested a few days ago. He was killed during the investigation”, the Palestinian minister in charge of prisoner affairs Issa Qaraqaa told AFP.
“We demand the creation of an international commission of inquiry to probe the circumstances of his death,” Qaraqaa said.
Israel Prisons Service spokeswoman Sivan Weizman said Jaradat, a 30-year-old father of two from the West Bank city of Hebron, died suddenly at Meggido detention centre in northern Israel.
“It was probably a cardiac arrest. I don’t have additional details at the moment,” Weizman said.
After news of Jaradat’s death, clashes broke out in Hebron between Palestinian youths and Israeli security forces, security sources said.
Israel’s Shin Bet internal intelligence service said Jaradat had been arrested on Monday for his involvement in a stonethrowing incident in November 2012 during which an Israeli had been wounded.
He was taken ill just before his death, Shin Bet said in a statement.
The Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip said the prisoner had died because of “the inhuman conditions in Israeli jails”.
Israeli media reported, meanwhile, that security officials had invited the Palestinian Authority to be present today for his autopsy.
Qaraqaa said a Palestinian doctor and Jaradat family members would be present.
The death could exacerbate tensions in Israel and the Palestinian territories which have been rocked this month by protests of solidarity with four other prisoners detained by Israel who are on hunger strike.
The Ramallah-based Prisoners’ Club announced yesterday that another seven prisoners have joined the protest action.