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Israel investigating death of elderly Palestinian-US man who died following arrest

ISRAEL is investigating the death of an 80-year-old Palestinian man with US citizenship who died of a heart attack after being detained by Israeli soldiers in the occupied West Bank.

The US State Department said it was in touch with the Israeli government to seek “clarification” about the incident, which occurred early on Wednesday, and that it supports a “thorough investigation.”

Omar Asaad was detained by Israeli occupation forces while returning from a relative’s home in Jaljulia, near the West Bank city of Ramallah. He was brought to a hospital hours later, dead from a heart attack, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

Jaljulia Mayor Fouad Qattum, citing witnesses, said the soldiers stopped Mr Asaad’s vehicle and removed him by force shortly before dawn. He said they took Mr Asaad, bound and blindfolded, to an abandoned building nearby. Later, they detained a number of young men from the surrounding area in the same building.

Mr Qattum said the other detainees did not know Mr Asaad was there because it was dark and he didn’t make a sound. They only found him later, after the army had withdrawn, lying on his stomach with his jacket draped over him. They administered first aid and called an ambulance, but the medics were unable to revive him.

“The other young men who were detained didn’t know he was there. If he had been alive he would have said something,” Mr Qattum said.

The Israeli military said in a statement on Wednesday that Mr Asaad was arrested “after resisting a check” and was released later that night, implying he was alive. It said the military police are reviewing the incident.

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