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Israel extends remand of Palestinian accused of setting off car bomb

Feb. 2, 2016 4:37 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 2, 2016 5:16 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) -- An Israeli court in Jerusalem on Tuesday extended the remand of a Palestinian woman accused of attempting to set off a car bomb near an Israeli military checkpoint in October, relatives told Ma'an.

Israa Jaabis was detained on Oct. 10 after Israeli police said she attempted to detonate a car bomb in front of an East Jerusalem checkpoint. Her family says the incident was an accident and the fire in her car was caused by a faulty domestic gas cylinder.

The 31-year-old mother and resident of occupied East Jerusalem was reportedly still in critical condition last month due to burns she sustained when flames engulfed her car in front of the al-Zayyim checkpoint.

Her sister, Muna, told Ma'an that Israa arrived in court for the first time on Tuesday, where the judge ruled to keep her in custody until Feb.16.

Muna said her sister had been unable to attend previous court hearings due to the severe burns she has received treatment for at Hadassah Hospital in Ein Kerem.

Israa has recently been moved to HaSharon prison where Muna said she had been "denied" family visits, as the Israeli Prison Service had only scheduled these visits on days Israa was busy undergoing medical treatment.

Muna said that on both occasions the family arrived at HaSharon prison without being notified that she was not there.

"Israa is still in need of medical treatment and she should stay in a sterilized place, as she has first and third degree burns in the face, hands, back and chest," Muna said, adding that eight of her sister's fingers had been amputated.

Muna said that her family rejected Israeli accusations that her sister had attempted to harm anyone.

She said the Israeli authorities had first claimed Israa was carrying an explosive device, before they later changed their version of events and accused her of attempting to set fire to a police officer using a domestic gas cylinder.

Muna said that on the day of the incident, Israa was in the process of moving to a new home in East Jerusalem -- a decision she made so as to retain her Jerusalem residency.

"She was moving furniture in her private vehicle, and on the day the accident happened she had a domestic gas cylinder in the car as well as a television," Muna said, adding that her family believes Israeli police intentionally avoided mentioning that the car was full of personal belongings.

"It was proved during court hearings that it was an accident 500 meters away from the checkpoint, which is enough evidence that she wasn't planning an attack against Israeli soldiers," Muna said.

The Oct. 10 incident took place amid a series of attacks carried out by Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory, although Israeli forces have come under repeated criticism for acting against Palestinian who did not pose any imminent threat.
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