State Department seeking answers in death of Palestinian American found dead after being detained in Israeli raid
State Department officials are calling for a “thorough investigation” after a Palestinian American man was found dead Wednesday following detainment by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank, Reuters reports.
“We support a thorough investigation into the circumstances,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said at a press conference, the wire service reported, adding that the U.S. had offered the man’s family condolences and consular assistance.
Israel’s military police are investigating the incident, which cited a statement from the military.
“The Military Police Criminal Investigation Division is reviewing the incident, at the end of which the findings will be transferred to the Military General Advocate Corps,” the statement read, according to Reuters.
Omar As’ad, 80, was detained on his way back from a relative’s home in his hometown of Jiljiliya, according to Reuters.
The head of the Jiljiliya village council, Fouad Qattum, said that soldiers forcibly removed As’ad from his vehicle as he left the town early in the morning and bound and blindfolded As’ad before taking him into a nearby building.
As’ad’s body was found facedown after the army left, another detainee who was present at the scene told Reuters.
As’ad was arrested “after resisting a check” and released Wednesday night, the Israeli military claimed in its statement. The military said he was alive upon release.
A local doctor who said he had tried to resuscitate As’ad told Reuters that the cause of death was unclear, but it was possible that As’ad “suffered a heart attack or some sort of panic.”
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh wrote in a Facebook post that As’ad’s death was a crime for which the Israeli military is responsible, according to Reuters.
As’ad had lived in the West Bank for the past 10 years, his brother told the wire service, but had previously lived in Milwaukee, Wis., for decades.