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Clashes as Palestinian bus driver found hanged

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Palestinians clashed with Israeli security forces in an East Jerusalem neighbourhood on Monday after the body of a Palestinian bus driver was found hanged inside his vehicle in a city parking lot.

Police suspect that 32-year-old Youssef al-Ramouni committed suicide, adding that no signs of a violent struggle were found on his body.

“We don’t have any indication on the ground that it’s an event other than suicide,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told dpa.

But the victim’s family said al-Ramouni had shown no intentions of taking his life and charged that radical Jews had murdered him.

Angry residents of the man’s East Jerusalem A-Tur neighbourhood and the town of Abu Dis, east of the city, threw stones at police.

The death follows weeks of unrest in and around Jerusalem, including stone-throwing, vehicle attacks, stabbings and shootings. Renewed Israeli-Palestinian tensions have centered around access to a Jerusalem holy site, known as the Temple Mount to Jews and the Nobel Sanctuary to Muslims.

The radical Islamist Hamas movement and its armed wing, the Qassam Brigades, issued statements blaming “Zionists” for al-Ramouni’s death and vowed revenge.

“The blood of the young martyr will become a fire blazing on the occupation and its leaders,” Hamas leader Izzat Risheq said in a tweet.

Rosenfeld said the body would undergo an autopsy at the family’s request.

A Palestinian doctor is due to participate in the autopsy.

Other Palestinian drivers working for Israel’s Egged bus company, al-Ramouni’s employer, declared a strike. Some shops were closed in Abu Dis, where a strike was also called. SAPA


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