Palestinian teens injured in riots following funeral of Palestinian prisoner


JERUSALEM (JTA) – Two Palestinian teenagers were injured in Palestinian riots in the West Bank following the funeral of a Palestinian who died in an Israeli prison.

Arafat Jaradat, 30, was buried with military honors Monday in a village near Hebron in a funeral attended by thousands of Palestinians, according to reports. He died Saturday of a heart attack in the Megiddo jail in northern Israel days after being arrested for participating in attacks on Israelis.

A 13-year-old boy from the al-Aida refugee camp near Bethlehem was injured by a bullet fired by Israeli troops, Palestinian sources told Israeli media. A 16-year-old sustained a head injury.

An Israeli soldier and an Israeli teen reportedly were injured by rocks thrown by Palestinian rioters.

Following an autopsy on Sunday, Palestinian officials said that Jaradat died from being tortured by Israel. According to the Israeli daily Haaretz, fellow Megiddo prisoners said Jaradat fell ill after being tortured.

News of his death prompted the announcement of a three-day hunger strike by Palestinians in Israeli prisons, and clashes intensified throughout the West Bank.

The funeral followed days of escalation of violence between Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank, which has seen tensions mount recently over the status of Palestinian prisoners, some held without trial for years under administrative detention. Some of the prisoners have been on extended hunger strikes.

Following the autopsy, Israel’s Health Ministry said in a statement that no signs of trauma apart from those pertaining to resuscitation attempts were found on the body, and that no evidence of disease were found. The coroner is waiting for microscopic and toxicology reports in order to determine the cause of death, according to the statement.

"The initial findings cannot determine the cause of death," the statement said.

The autopsy at Israel’s Abu Kabir Center for Forensic Medicine was conducted in the presence of a Palestinian pathologist and family members. 

Israeli authorities said Jaradat was known to suffer from back pains and other maladies arising from previous clashes with Israeli troops, Haaretz said.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem said it has limited official travel to the West Bank by U.S. government personnel and suspended personal travel to Bethlehem due to the demonstrations over Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

The consulate statement issued Monday also advised U.S. citizens to "defer non-essential travel to and within the West Bank and to exercise an extra measure of caution during this period."

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