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Swedish newspaper: Israeli soldiers harvested Palestinians' organs

Aug. 19, 2009 9:57 A.M. (Updated: Sept. 1, 2009 11:57 A.M.)
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Sweden’s most popular newspaper published a report detailing claims that Israeli soldiers harvested the organs of Palestinians after seizing them from the West Bank.

The report in Aftonbladet details how Israeli soldiers detained young men who died in custody and whose bodies were returned with organs missing. The paper cites Palestinian sources, but Ma'an could not independently verify the claims.

Fallout over the report was immediate. A rival Swedish publication accused Aftonbladet of anti-Semitism and Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon denounced the article as “blood libel.”

Interviewed by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz on Wednesday, journalist Donald Boström said he wrote the article in a push for an international investigation around the allegations. His editors said they backed the call for an inquiry.

In the paper Boström discusses the case of Bilal Ahmed Ghanan, 19, who was known for throwing stones at Israeli soldiers during the first Intifada (uprising) against the Israeli occupation. The article says Ghanan hid in the mountains around the West Bank city of Nablus, fearing arrest.

When he came down from his hideout, Boström said, soldiers shot Ghanan in the chest, both legs, and stomach, then airlifted him on a military helicopter.

Boström said he witnessed Israeli soldiers return the body to his family wrapped in green hospital sheets five days later. Bilal’s chest had been cut open and organs removed. His report is accompanied by a photograph that shows a young man whose torso has been sliced open, then sown back together.

The article also makes a link to the recent exposure of a crime ring in the US state of New Jersey, where several American Rabbis have been charged with conspiring to broker the sale of a human kidney needed for a transplant.

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