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Suicide of Palestinian Triggers New Allegations of IDF Brutality

The reported suicide of a Palestinian detainee has refueled a public debate over alleged brutality against prisoners incarcerated for rioting.

Ibrahim Matur, 32, from Si’ir village, near Hebron, was found dead in his cell Friday at the Dhahiriya detention camp.

He was the third prisoner since the Palestinian uprising began whose death has been attributed to suicide. But relatives who claimed the body said they saw signs that he was severely beaten.

Matur, a father of four, was arrested July 22. He was accused of setting fire to an Egged passenger bus that strayed into his village. He was ordered held in custody, pending the conclusion of legal proceedings.

The Israel Defense Force said “an initial investigation clarified that the prisoner had committed suicide. A military police investigation into the circumstances of the death has begun.”

Only a small group of close relatives was allowed by the IDF to attend Matur’s burial. But a large memorial procession was held in Si’ir on Saturday.

Family members insist they saw bruises on the deceased’s head, fractures on one hand and both feet, and seven stitches behind one ear.

Meanwhile, allegations of brutality toward Palestinians appeared in the press here over the weekend, and were heard in the Knesset.

TALK OF A ‘HIT SQUAD’

A local weekly claimed an Israeli “hit squad” last week killed two Palestinians on the “wanted list” in the West Bank village of Yatta, near Hebron.

The squad allegedly drove into the village in a car with local license plates to avoid alerting the victims, the article charged.

The IDF denied it resorted to such methods to “settle accounts” with local troublemakers. Bu it admitted local cars sometimes were commandeered for riot-control purposes.

Knesset member Dedi Zucker of the left-wing Citizens Rights Movement charged over the weekend that the IDF staged a mock execution of three Palestinian prisoners, in order to extract information from them.

According to Zucker, the prisoners were made to stand against a wall while a firing squad took aim as if to shoot them. One prisoner fainted from fright, Zucker said.

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