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Palestinian Dies in Interrogation Room, Two Killed

March 6, 1989

JERUSALEM (AP) _ A Palestinian prisoner died in an interrogation room of Israel’s Shin Bet security service, and two other Arabs were killed in a bloody day of clashes in the occupied lands Monday, authorities said.

Soldiers reportedly shot and wounded 17 other Palestinians as residents of the occupied territories staged a general strike, closing shops and staying home from work.

Monday’s death toll was the highest in nearly a month in the 15-month Palestinian uprising, bringing the total of Arabs killed in the rebellion to 399. Seventeen Israelis have also died.

Police launched an investigation into the death of Mahmoud Youssef Masri of the Gaza Strip town of Rafah. Masri, arrested several days ago, had been kept in the Shin Bet interrogation room of Gaza prison since the arrest, a Prison Authority official said.

The official said Masri, 32, suffered an ulcer attack in prison and was given medical help shortly before he died early Monday.

″We don’t know what caused the death,″ the official said on condition of anonymity. ″He was both very sick and also under intensive interrogation.″

Leftist legislator Yossi Sarid demanded a ″full and thorough″ investigation. He said authorities told him that the prisoner died of an ulcer, but ″these circumstances are very worrying. He was undergoing interrogation.

Sadrid said the prisoner may have suffered from an ulcer, ″but I have to be convinced″ that he died of it.

National police spokesman Ron Yishayahu said police launched an investigation into the death, and the Prisons Authority official said his organization was conducting a similar inquiry.

In 1984, two Palestinian bus hijackers were beaten to death during a Shin Bet interrogation. The former head of the Shin Bet, Avraham Shalom, resigned two years later over the resulting scandal.

A 1987 judicial commission report prompted by the incident concluded the Shin Bet was allowed to use ″some means of physical pressure″ during interrogations.

In other developments in Israel on Monday, a small bomb exploded at a stop near Tel Aviv, Israel radio reported. No injuries were reported, and no group claimed responsibility for the attack. Police detained 20 Arabs for questioning.

In the West Bank village of Salem near Nablus, troops conducting a search- and-arrest raid fatally shot 24-year-old Ibrahim Mohammed Jaber, Arab reports said. Hospital officials in Nablus said he was shot three times in the face. The army confirmed Jaber’s death and the raid, but said it was investigating the circumstances.

In the Gaza Strip village of Beit Lahiya, soldiers killed Ahmed Ramadan Azani, 19, during ″a gathering and a riot,″ an army spokesman said.

The army spokesman said two other people were wounded in Beit Lahiya and the army placed a curfew on the village of 7,000.

Fifteen other Palestinians were wounded in scattered clashes in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, hospital officials said. The army command confirmed one injury and said it was checking further.

The army said it freed 130 Gaza detainees from the Ketziot prison in southern Israel to mark this week’s Moslem holiday of Isra Al Meraj. It marks prophet Mohammed’s pilgrimage from Mecca to Jerusalem, where Moslems believe he ascended to heaven.

The army also told four Gaza families that their relatives are to be deported and offered the families a last meeting Wednesday in Gaza prison, Arab reports said.

The four - Abu Abu Karsh, Nabil Tamous, Mohammed Saadi Muduh and Riyadh Wajih Ajour - are likely to be deported on Thursday or Sunday, the reports said. Their deportation was ordered in August for alleged anti-Israeli activities.

The army declined comment on the report.

The deportations, if carried out, would bring to 53 the number of Palestinians expelled since December 1987. The policy has been condemned by the United States and other Western nations.

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