Omar As'ad, 80, died after Israeli soldiers assaulted him. (Photo: via Social Media)
The US Wednesday pushed for a thorough probe into the death of an elderly Palestinian-American who was arrested and harassed in an Israeli raid on a Palestinian village in the illegally occupied West Bank.
The US State Department is seeking clarification from Israel over the the death of 80-year-old Omar Abdel Majid As’ad, who died early Wednesday after Israeli soldiers detained, blindfolded, handcuffed and harassed him in the village of Jiljilya, north of the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah.
State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters: “We support a thorough investigation into the circumstances of this incident”, while pointing that the US State Department had expressed its condolences to the family about this tragedy and offered to provide consular assistance.
As’ad was a former resident of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he lived for decades and moved back to the West Bank 10 years ago.
Jiljilya village mayor Fouad Qattoum said Asaad was returning home after visiting relatives when Israeli soldiers stopped his car, bound him, blindfolded him and led him away to a building still under construction. Another villager said he saw Israeli soldiers walking Asaad away around 3am.
Asaad's body was found more than an hour later, according to vegetable seller Mamdouh Elaboud, who said he was himself detained for 20 minutes, then released.
"After the soldiers were gone, we noticed someone on the ground," Elaboud, 55, told Reuters. "He was lying face down on the ground and when we turned him over we found an elderly man with no sign of life."
The Israeli military said it had carried out an overnight operation in the village, and claimed a Palestinian was "apprehended after resisting a check". It claimed he was alive when the soldiers released him.