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Palestinians protest against Israel over hospitalized detainee

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RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) – Palestinians protested in Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank on Tuesday after a detainee suspected of killing an Israeli teenager in a bomb attack was hospitalized during interrogation by Israeli forces.

In the West Bank city of Ramallah, 300 protesters burned tyres and hurled stones at Israeli troops who took up positions in fields nearby.

As masked demonstrators blocked roads, the troops responded with tear gas, sound bombs and jets of foul-smelling water in clashes that lasted about three hours.

Around 50 Palestinians demonstrated in Jerusalem before police dispersed the protest and detained three people, a Reuters photographer said.

The protests follow the arrest, detention and later hospitalisation of Samer al-Arbid, a suspect in a deadly bombing attack in the West Bank in August.

Al-Arbid, 44, has been held since September 25 on suspicion of orchestrating and carrying out the attack which killed a 17-year-old Israeli girl while she was on a hike with her family near an Israeli settlement.

Palestinian officials have accused the Israeli authorities of torturing al-Arbid during questioning.

Israel’s internal security service, the Shin Bet, said on Sunday that during his interrogation al-Arbid said he was feeling unwell and was taken to hospital for examination and treatment.

Arbid’s lawyer, Mahmoud Hassan, told Reuters by telephone that he had been to a Jerusalem hospital on Monday to see his client.

Hassan said al-Arbid was in critical condition “as a result of the severe torture he endured during a lengthy interrogation as a suspect in the bombing.”

A hospital spokeswoman declined to comment on al-Arbid’s condition and referred further questions to the Shin Beit, which said that the investigation was still underway and that it would therefore provide no further details.

However, it had earlier said that al-Arbid and two other Palestinians in his ring were planning more attacks against Israelis, and that another bomb was found in their possession.

(Reporting by Ali Sawafta; Editing by Stephen Farrell)

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