Hamas: Death in West Bank custody blow up reconciliation talks

West Bank security officials denied accusations that a man who died in their custody had been killed by Fatah forces.

Hamas: Death in West Bank custody blow up reconciliation talks

Palestinian security officials in the West Bank denied accusations on Monday by their rivals that a man who died in their custody had been killed by President Mahmoud Abbas's Western-backed forces.

Officials from Hamas described 30-year-old Mohammed Adbel-Jamil al-Hajj as one of its members in Jenin and said his death by hanging on Sunday in a jail in the northern West Bank city was a political murder.

Officials from Abbas's Preventive Security Force, which runs the detention facility, said Hajj committed suicide.

An autopsy report was expected later on Monday.

"We strongly deny he was tortured," Preventive Security spokesman Mohammed Abu Nabhan said. "He had been arrested two days earlier."

An uncle of the dead man, Mohayeldeen al-Hajj, told Reuters: "What do you expect them to say about someone who was killed in their custody? Would they admit that they killed him?

"He had been jailed five times and he was tortured severely each time. Why would he hang himself this time? ... The Palestinian Authority and Preventive Security are responsible for his killing. They jailed him because he was Hamas."

In Gaza, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said: "The crime of torturing Mohammed al-Hajj to death at the hands of the West Bank security service will have grave consequences and was an attempt to blow up all reconciliation efforts."

Two weeks ago, relatives accused Hamas in Gaza of killing Fatah supporter Osama Atallah and Fatah officials in the coastal enclave accused Hamas of killing several party members during Israel's 3-week offensive in the strip last month.

Reuters

Last Mod: 09 Şubat 2009, 18:07
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