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Middle East

Palestinian in coma since Israeli attack dies

Ramallah resident dies after several weeks in a coma blamed on tear-gas canister fired into his car by Israeli forces.
Last Modified: 15 Mar 2013 18:44
At least six Palestinians have been shot dead by the Israeli army in confrontations so far this year alone [Reuters]

A Palestinian who had been in a coma since inhaling tear gas at a protest last month died in hospital in the West Bank city of Ramallah, a medical official says.

Muayad Nazih Ghazawneh, 35, also had a history of heart problems, the medic said on Friday.

According to Maan news agency, Israeli forces fired tear-gas canisters directly into his car during clashes in Al-Ram three weeks ago. It is unclear whether Ghazawneh was taking part in the clashes at the time.

Among mourners at his funeral in the Al-Ram neighbourhood, adjacent to Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem, were masked armed members of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the armed wing of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah group.

After the funeral, scuffles broke out with Palestinians throwing stones and Israeli soldiers responding with tear gas.

Mahmoud al-Titi, a 22-year-old Palestinian, was killed on Tuesday after Israeli forces broke into a camp near the city of Hebron, and opened fire on a group of Palestinians said to have been throwing stones.

Titi was shot by some kind of explosive bullet to the jaw, according to the hospital.

Tensions have been rising in the Israeli-occupied West Bank with clashes on the rise between soldiers or settlers on the one hand and young Palestinians on the other.

Six Palestinians have been shot dead in confrontations with the Israeli army so far this year.

In the week from March 5 to 11, 132 Palestinians and five Israeli soldiers were wounded. Another 14 were wounded in clashes with settlers, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.

The Israeli army said on Friday that it had arrested 10 Palestinians on suspicion of stone-throwing that was blamed for a road accident in which an Israeli woman and her three daughters were injured.

"Israeli special forces acting on precise intelligence arrested eight Palestinians from the village of Haris, south of Qalqilya, and two more from the village of Kifl Haris," an army statement said.

"The suspects were arrested after a group of Palestinians caused a traffic accident yesterday (Thursday) evening."

'Impartial investigation'

In a separate development, the European parliament urged Israel on Thursday to conduct an impartial investigation into the prison death in February of Palestinian fighter Arafat Jaradat.

The bloc's parliament passed a resolution calling "on the Israeli authorities promptly to open independent, impartial and transparent investigations into the circumstances of Mr Jaradat's death".

In a resolution voted two days after a visit by Israeli President Shimon Peres, the European parliament reiterated its support for the Jewish state but urged it to respect the rule of law.

Jaradat's death in an Israeli prison last month sparked angry demonstrations across the West Bank in which dozens of Palestinians were injured in confrontations with Israeli forces.

Palestinian officials have accused Israeli interrogators of torturing the 30-year-old father of two to death. Israel says the cause of death has yet to be determined.

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