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Tel Aviv - There is no evidence that a Palestinian detainee who died in an Israeli prison was poisoned or physically abused, an interim autopsy report from Israel's Health Ministry said Thursday.
Arafat Jaradat's death over the weekend in Megiddo Prison sparked rioting in the West Bank, as angry Palestinians took to the streets in protest. Israeli officials said he died of a heart attack.
According to the Health Ministry, Jaradat's internal bleeding and fractured ribs were typical of the 50 minutes of resuscitation attempts prison staff and paramedics made on the body.
“No evidence was found of poisoning and no evidence was found of physical violence,” local media quoted an Israeli medical team as saying after an examination was performed on Jaradat's remains.
Israel's forensic institute will continue to carry out tests in order to determine the cause of death, the ministry said.
The Chief Pathologist of the Palestinian Authority said Sunday, after attending the autopsy on Jaradat's body in Israel, that he had died as a result of being tortured during interrogations conducted after his arrest on February 18.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called for an international inquiry into the death of Jaradat, whom he said had been assassinated.
Israel has said it was “checking the possibility” that an independent foreign official may be allowed to join the investigation into the prisoner's death.
The clashes following Jaradat's death came on top of protests held to show solidarity with four Palestinians on a hunger strike in Israeli prisons.
Two of them have since ended their fasts, while a third, Samer Issawi, has been transferred from an Israeli prison clinic to a civilian hospital near Tel Aviv amid concerns that his health was deteriorating.
Sivan Weizman, an Israel Prison Authority spokeswoman, told dpa on Thursday that the decision had been taken “because he has been hunger-striking for a long time.”
The 33-year-old has been intermittently refusing food for more than 200 days and weighs just 45 kilograms, according to Palestinian human rights lawyers who has visited him.
Ofir Levy, a spokesman for Kaplan hospital south-east of Tel Aviv, said the Palestinian was admitted in “stable” condition. He refused treatment but would be under continuous medical supervision.
Issawi is protesting his rearrest after being released in a 2011 prisoner swap.
The fourth hunger-strike has been in a civilian hospital in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba for the past week. - Sapa-dpa