Last updated: 15 March, 2013

Israel holds 10 Palestinians over road crash

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

Muayad Atwa, 30, also had a history of heart problems, the medic added.

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

They fired assault rifles in the air and shouted “Vengeance!” an AFP photographer at the scene reported.

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

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 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.

The accident took place on Thursday evening near the West Bank settlement of Ariel. One daughter, aged two, was seriously hurt.

“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.”