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Palestinian Authority security forces storm homes of Nizar Banat’s family in Hebron

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

Mr Banat died in mysterious circumstances soon after he was taken into custody by government forces in June.

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

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

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

A number of reports say that Hussein was “beaten unconscious and left without medical care” and was issued with a warning over his testimony.

Sources claim that he was told “to deny that he saw Colonel Aziz Tamizi, the commander of the mission when Banat was murdered, putting gas into his cousin’s mouth, and deny that he heard him ordering other security officers to complete the mission.”

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

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

The court has heard that Mr Banat’s phone was hacked prior to his death which his relatives condemned as “contrary to the law.”

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

They accused him of colluding with Israeli occupying forces and postponing elections in a bid to cling on to power.

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