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Feb. 24, 2013 at 8:17 AM   |   Comments

Israel gearing up for more violence

JERUSALEM, Feb. 24 (UPI) -- Israel security forces were on high alert Sunday amid fears West Bank clashes would escalate after the death of a Palestinian prisoner in an Israeli jail.

Clashes in the West Bank between protesting Palestinians and Israeli security forces erupted in the Hebron area Sunday morning and 4,500 Palestinian security prisoners incarcerated in Israel threatened a one-day hunger strike to protest the death of Arafat Jaradat, 30, who died Saturday in an Israeli prison. Initial reports said Jaradat, who was not one of the hunger-strikers, died of heart failure.

Violence was reported Sunday in Jaradat's village of Sair and other areas around Hebron, Israel Radio said.

Unrest escalated in the West Bank and areas of east Jerusalem last week with Palestinians demanding the release of four prisoners on hunger strikes in Israeli jails. Jaradat's death Saturday added further fuel to an already tense situation, Israeli military officials said. Israeli Arab Knesset members participated in a protest march in Nazareth.

A statement released by the Israel Security Agency, Shin Bet, Sunday said an investigation into Jaradat's death was under way. Jaradat was arrested last Monday for allegedly throwing stones at Israeli vehicles on West Bank highways, the Shin Bet said. Doctors examined him a number of times and no medical problems were discovered. However, reports said he went to his cell after eating his midday meal Saturday, saying he did not feel well. Medics summoned to his cell attempted to resuscitate him, to no avail.

Issa Qaraqi, the Palestinian minister for prisoner affairs, accused Israel of torturing Jeradat, The Jerusalem Post said. Qaraqi said an autopsy would be conducted in the presence of a Palestinian coroner, a member of Jaradat's family and his lawyer, Israel Radio said.


Pistorius' brother charged with homicide

VANDERBIJLPARK, South Africa, Feb. 24 (UPI) -- The older brother of South African Olympic runner and shooting suspect Oscar Pistorius has been charged in the death of a motorcyclist, officials said.

Carl Pistorius was charged with culpable homicide for the 2010 of a female motorcyclist, African broadcaster eNCA reported Sunday.

Prosecutors said the elder Pistorius was allegedly driving recklessly in Vanderbijlpark, South Africa, when he crashed into the motorcyclist, killing her. His lawyer said Carl Pistorius was not driving recklessly and the motorcyclist drove into his vehicle, CNN reported.

Carl Pistorius' case was scheduled to go to trial Thursday -- the day before Oscar was granted bail -- but was rescheduled for the end of March. He had asked the court to delay his trial so he could support his brother, who is charged with premeditated murder in the death of his model girlfriend.

Oscar Pistorius, the double-amputee sprinter internationally known as "Blade Runner," said he accidentally shot Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day, believing her to be an intruder.


Iran says it downed drone

TEHRAN, Feb. 24 (UPI) -- A general in the Revolutionary Guards Corps said a foreign surveillance drone was shot down on the first day of military exercises in Iran.

"On the first day of the Great Prophet 8 war games, the I.R.G.C.'s electronic warfare system detected signals showing that alien drones were trying to enter the country," Brig.Gen. Hamid Sarkheili said Saturday, the semi-official Fars news agency reported. He said the "alien drone" was shot down over the war games zone.

Sarkheili said the I.R.G.C. was in possession of images taken by the drone and if the country's senior security echelon agree, the images would be released to the public.

Sarkheili did not divulge any further details, such as where the drone may have originated.

The Guards began a three-day military exercise Saturday in the southeast province of Kerman.

Iran has claimed to have captured several U.S. drones, including an advanced RQ-170 Sentinel CIA spy drone in December 2011 and at least three ScanEagle aircraft.


Ex-Maldives president exits embassy

MALE, Maldives, Feb. 24 (UPI) -- Former Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed left the Indian Embassy in Male Saturday, ending a 10-day stay to evade an arrest warrant.

Nasheed had entered the Indian mission Feb. 13 to avoid being arrested for failing to appear in court on charges of detaining Chief Criminal Judge Abdulla Mohamed during his presidency, the Press Trust of India reported. Nasheed's party claimed the case was politically motivated and meant to keep him from taking part in September presidential polls.

"We welcome this development," Masood Imad, press secretary for President Mohamed Waheed, said, adding there currently was no arrest warrant against Nasheed.

The BBC reported Nasheed said he hopes to continue his political activities and take part in the presidential election this fall.

Nasheed became the first democratically elected president of the Indian Ocean archipelago in 2008. He says he was forced to quit in February 2012 under duress after soldiers and police mutinied and overran the party's headquarters in Male.

Waheed, who had been his vice president, insists Nasheed left of his own accord after opposition-led protests, the BBC said.

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