IDF denies abuse allegations after arrested Palestinian suspect dies
Israel rebuffs charges Muhammad Zaghloul Khatib was beaten, says he lost consciousness while in custody for unclear reasons; family accuses army of ‘executing’ him
A West Bank man died in Israeli custody after he was arrested by Israeli security forces at his home near the West Bank city of Ramallah in the predawn hours of Tuesday morning, Israeli and Palestinian officials said.
According to Palestinians, Muhammad Zaghloul Khatib, 24, was beaten by Israeli soldiers during his arrest in the village of Bayt Rima, near Ramallah.
The Israel Defense Forces confirmed that Khatib had died in its custody, but denied Palestinians’ claim that he had been injured during the raid.
“At 6 a.m., special [Israeli] forces raided the martyr’s home and then arrested and violently beat him in front of his family. Two hours later, the Palestinian [Military] Liason informed us that he was martyred,” Bayt Rima Mayor Yazan Rimawi told the Times of Israel.
According to the Israeli military, Khatib lost consciousness shortly after his arrest for as yet unknown reasons.
“He received treatment from troops and was taken to the hospital, escorted by an IDF medical team, who performed CPR. He was pronounced dead at the hospital,” an IDF spokesperson said.
“According to an initial investigation, he was arrested without resisting or violence. The incident will be investigated,” the official said.
Palestinians accused Israel of killing Khatib and said it should bear responsibility.
“The Israeli army raided our home this morning and executed our son by violently beating him,” an immediate family member told The Times of Israel.
Qadri Abu Bakr, the chairman of the PLO Prisoners Affairs’ Commission, said Israel bears full responsibility for “Khatib’s martyrdom,” the Palestinian news site Maan reported.
Abu Bakr added that “the brutal way he was arrested confirms that the occupation intended to kill the martyr Khatib,” according to the Maan report.
He also called on the international community to take “immediate action and hold Israel accountable for this crime and tens of [other] crimes that it perpetrates daily at the expense of prisoners in an open an scandalous manner,” according to the Maan report.
Fatah spokesman Osama Qawasma said “this crime is a crime at the expense of the whole Palestinian people and all of humanity,” official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.
The IDF earlier announced that security forces arrested 11 Palestinians in raids across the West Bank on Monday night and early Tuesday morning.
The military said the detainees were suspected of “involvement in terrorist activities, popular terrorism and participation in violent riots against civilians and security forces.”
Popular terrorism is a catch-all term used by the army to denote rock throwing and other low-level violence.
The arrests came a day after Palestinian teenager stabbed to death an Israeli man, Ari Fuld, outside a shopping mall near the central West Bank’s Gush Etzion Junction.
Earlier this month, a Palestinian man armed with a knife was shot dead as he approached a group of IDF soldiers near the Kiryat Arba settlement, next to Hebron.
At midnight on Monday, Israel shuttered its crossings into the West Bank and Gaza Strip ahead of the Yom Kippur holiday, which begins on Tuesday evening.
The crossings and checkpoints were scheduled to reopen at midnight on September 19.
Some exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis out of humanitarian and medical considerations by Israel’s military liaison to the Palestinians Maj. Gen. Kamil Abu Rokon, known formally as the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories.