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IDF Investigates Reports of Death of Islamic Militant

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The Israel Defense Force is investigating reports that an Islamic militant died after being interrogated by Israeli security agents.

Abdel-Samad Hassan Harizat, 30, was detained by Israeli security forces last Friday. He died in the intensive care unit of Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital early Tuesday, after he was brought there unconscious and in serious condition, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Harizat’s brother, Abdallah, claimed that he had been beaten to death. He also said his brother had been a religious man, but did not have ties to the Islamic fundamentalist Hamas movement, Israel Radio reported.

However, other media reported that he was a known supporter of Hamas, and had been arrested by Israeli security officials in the past.

Senior Israeli security sources were quoted by Israel Radio as saying that Harizat ran a squad responsible for a number of fatal attacks on Jewish settlers near the West Bank town of Hebron.

The Justice Ministry’s unit in charge of investigating police actions has started looking into the circumstances of Harizat’s death.

A government-appointed commission in 1988 set standards for the use of moderate physical pressure during interrogations. Instances of deviations from these standards have since been investigated.

Some West Bank Palestinians held strikes in response to the charges of human rights organizations and of relatives of Harizat that he was tortured to death.

In another development, Israeli security forces this week detained 14 Palestinian activists in Hebron suspected of carrying out 10 suicide bombings against Israelis between 1993 and 1994, an army spokesperson said.

Security sources said the Islamic cell was planning several bomb attacks inside Israel and the territories.

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