Palestinian inmate dies after Israeli jail riot

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JERUSALEM, Oct 23 (Reuters) One Palestinian inmate died of wounds suffered in an Israeli jail riot and over a dozen were wounded after violent clashes with prison guards, 15 of whom were also hurt, a prisons spokeswoman said.

The violence flared yesterday when guards conducted a routine search for weapons in a tented complex housing 1,000 inmates in Israel's Negev desert, Eli Gabizon, commander of the Israel Prisons Service southern district, told Israel Radio.

The guards were hurt when prisoners hurled rocks and torched tents during the early morning search. The spokeswoman said the guards used only ''non-lethal'' means to quell the riot.

Palestinian member of parliament Issa Qaraqe told Reuters prisoners in Israeli jails would hold a one-day hunger strike today to protest against the violence.

More than 100 Palestinians gathered near a Jewish holy site in the occupied West Bank to protest over the prisoner's death.

An Israeli army spokesman said soldiers used rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse the demonstrators after a protester threw a fire bomb at the force.

The Islamist group Hamas, which seized control of the Gaza Strip in June, said in a statement that attacks on Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails may bring ''painful choices ...

regarding the case of (captured Israeli soldier) Gilad Shalit''.

Shalit was abducted last year by Gaza militants in a cross-border raid.

REUTERS SZ BD1919

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