Israeli army to probe woman's death

Jan. 2, 2011 at 6:42 AM
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RAMALLAH, West Bank, Jan. 2 (UPI) -- Israel's Army said it would investigate the death of a Palestinian woman who participated in a West Bank protest Friday against the security barrier.

Jawaher Abu Rahma, 36, was among scores who gathered in the West Bank village of Bilin on Friday to protest the West Bank security barrier, when soldiers fired tear gas to disperse the crowd. Rahma inhaled the gas and was taken to hospital in Ramallah. She died Saturday morning from complications.

A statement released by the army said "during a violent and illegal disturbance held near the village of Bilin, a Palestinian woman was reportedly hurt after inhaling gas. She was evacuated by the Red Crescent to a hospital in Ramallah. According to initial reports received from the Palestinians, she was later discharged to her home, where she died.

An Israeli military official told that the Palestinians had yet to respond to a request to review the Palestinian woman's medical report.

Rahma was buried Saturday, though the exact circumstances of her death remain unclear, Haaretz said Sunday.

She was buried next to her brother, Bassem Abu Rahma, who was killed by Israeli soldiers in April, 2009, also in Bilin, the newspaper said. Her brother, Ashraf, was shot and wounded by soldiers in 2008 while his hands were bound. The incident was caught on videotape and soldiers involved in the highly publicized incident were brought to trial.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called the Rahma family and expressed his condolences and said "this new Israeli crime comes as part of a series of crimes carried out by the army of the occupation against our helpless nation," The Jerusalem Post said.

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