Palestinian Authority security forces storm Nizar Banat family homes in Hebron


SECURITY services stormed the homes of the family of Palestinian Authority critic Nizar Banat today.

Mr. Banat died under mysterious circumstances shortly after his arrest by government forces in June.

The raids, which took place in the early hours of the morning in Hebron, came a week after the opening of a trial against 14 Palestinian Authority members implicated in Mr. Banat’s arrest.

His cousin Ammar Banat said government forces claimed 12 family members are wanted and under investigation in connection with his brother Hussein’s arrest last week.

Hussein Banat is a key witness in the case against Palestinian Authority officials and was arrested a day after the trial began.

A number of reports state that Hussein was “beaten unconscious and left without medical treatment” and received a warning regarding his testimony.

Sources say he was told “to deny seeing Colonel Aziz Tamizi, the mission commander when Banat was assassinated, put gas in his cousin’s mouth, and to deny hearing him order to d ‘other security officers to complete the mission’.

Fourteen people have been indicted for the murder of Mr. Banat, but they deny the charges of assault and battery, abuse of power and violation of military instructions.

His family accused Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh of seeking to deflect responsibility for his death.

The court heard that Mr. Banat’s phone had been hacked before his death, which his relatives condemned as “against the law”.

Mass protests erupted in Ramallah and other cities following his death, with protesters demanding the resignation of Mr Abbas.

They accused him of colluding with the Israeli occupation forces and of postponing the elections in order to cling to power.

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