JERUSALEM (AFP) – A Palestinian bus driver was found hanged in his vehicle in west Jerusalem overnight, in what Israeli police said was an apparent suicide but a colleague said looked like murder.
A police statement on Monday said that the driver was a resident of Al-Tur, on the Mount of Olives in annexed east Jerusalem.
Family members identified him as Yusuf Hasan al-Ramuni, a 32-year-old father of two. They too ruled out suicide.
His death comes after months of tension in Arab east Jerusalem following the kidnapping and murder of a Palestinian teenager, with police in the city on high alert for violence on either side.
The driver’s body was found by his supervisor hanging inside his vehicle in a bus depot in Har Hotzvim, an industrial zone in north Jerusalem, police spokeswoman Luba Samri said.
“According to an initial investigation, it appears there is no suspicion of criminal activity, in other words a suicide,” she said in a statement, which said there were “no signs of violence on the body.”
But fellow bus driver Muatasem Fakeh said he had seen evidence to the contrary.
“We saw signs of violence on his body,” he told AFP.
“He was hanged over the steps at the back of the bus in a place where it would be impossible to hang yourself alone,” he added.
The victim’s brother, Osama al-Ramuni told AFP the family did not accept the verdict of suicide, saying his body “had bruises on it”, suggesting he had been “tortured” before his death.
“My brother had children and was a happy man. It is impossible that he killed himself,” he told AFP.
“He had no problems that would make him do it,” he said, adding that a post-mortem would “reveal everything.”
“We reject the suicide theory. We all know it was settlers who killed him,” he said, using a common Palestinian euphemism for Jewish extremists.
Police said the body had been sent to Abu Kabir forensic institute for a post-mortem in coordination with his family.