A Palestinian prisoner has died in an Israeli jail, officials have said. Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has expressed shock at the death and asked to know the circumstances surrounding it.
30-year-old Arafat Jaradat died Saturday of an apparent cardiac arrest, a spokeswoman for Israel's Prison Authority said. Jaradat was being held at the Meggido detention center in northern Israel.
Israel's Shin Bet internal intelligence service said Jaradat, a father of two from the West Bank city of Hebron, was arrested on Monday for his involvement in a November 2012 stone throwing incident during which an Israeli had been injured.
Shin Bet said he died suddenly Saturday and began feeling ill after eating lunch while he was resting.
"During his interrogation … on Thursday, Jaradat was examined numerous times by a doctor. No health problems were found in these examinations and the interrogation continued," Shin Bet said, adding a police inquiry into Jaradat's death had begun.
The intelligence service also said that Jaradat suffered from various health problems prior to his death, including back aches and previous injuries, one to the left leg from rubber bullets and one to the stomach from a tear gas canister.
"Our information was that Jaradat was being interrogated and then he died," Palestinian Minister of Prisoners Issa Qaraqea said. "Therefore we call for an internal investigation into his death, that may have resulted from torture."
Qaraqea did not provide further details on whether he had evidence of torture.
Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad released a statement from his office Saturday saying he "expresses his deep sorrow and shock over the martyrdom of prisoner Arafat Jaradat in Israeli occupation prisons."
He "affirms the need to promptly disclose the true reasons that led to his martyrdom," the statement added.
Israel holds around 4,700 Palestinians in its prisons. According to the Palestinian Prisoner Club, an association that cares for Palestinians in Israeli jails, there are 11 inmates currently on hunger strike in the country.
dr/mr (AFP, Reuters)