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Family says Palestinian who died after arrest by Israeli forces was beaten

West Bank family of Mohammad al-Khatib, 24, say they want an autopsy to be performed at a Palestinian facility, not an Israeli one
Mohammad Khatib's mother, Manwa, reacts after her son's death, hours after the Israeli army raided the family home and detained the young Palestinian man (Reuters)

A Palestinian man has died after being arrested by the Israeli army during a raid in the occupied West Bank overnight, with his family accusing soldiers of beating him.

The dead man's family said they saw soldiers carrying Mohammad al-Khatib, who was unconscious, out of the house and later were informed of his death.

They added that they were unable to see whether Khatib, who was 24 and from the village of Beit Rima, had any injuries before being taken away.

Khatib's brother Bashir said that the army had raided the house in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

"Around 6am, special forces arrived at scene and they blew the door of his room and entered," he told Reuters news agency.

They beat him violently and we heard screaming

- Bashir al-Khatib, brother of Mohammad

Khatib's mother Manwa said: "My daughter was praying here. She heard noise, and when she checked it out she saw soldiers so she came quickly to tell us, and we woke up terrified while the forces were inside the room."

Speaking to the AFP news agency, Bashir said: "They entered Mohammad's room while he was sleeping, and they beat him violently and we heard screaming.

"After a while he went silent, and a soldier carried him out on his back."

The Israeli military said an initial internal inquiry showed the troops used no violence and that it had launched an investigation into the incident, adding that Khatib was being sought for suspected security offences.

The army confirmed the death of Khatib in custody but said he had not resisted arrest.

"The army apprehended a Palestinian suspected of hostile activities in Beit Rima during the night," an army spokeswoman told AFP, referring to the village north of Ramallah.

"He was arrested without violence or resistance from his part. He lost consciousness and was treated by Israeli soldiers at the scene."

He died later in a hospital, she added.

A spokeswoman for the hospital told Reuters news agency by phone that doctors continued efforts to revive Khatib but were unsuccessful, and the man was declared dead.

"There were no bruises visible on his body," said Vered Kvitel, spokeswoman for Belinison hospital.

The family said they want an autopsy to be performed at a Palestinian facility, not an Israeli one, and called for international witnesses to attend the post-mortem if Israeli authorities insisted on carrying one out.

The Palestinian Prisoners Society, an organisation advocating for prisoners' rights, said it held Israel responsible for Khatib's death.

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