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Elderly Palestinian dies after beating by Israeli forces

Elderly Palestinian man dies after being beaten, dragged by Israeli forces
3 min read
West Bank
12 January, 2022
Eighty-year-old Omar Asaad was found dead in an abandoned house where Israeli forces detained him after beating, handcuffing, and dragging him along the ground for some 200 metres.
Omar Asaad is the third Palestinian killed by Israeli forces or settlers in 2022 [Getty]

A Palestinian man in his eighties was found dead in the occupied West Bank village of Jiljeliyeh, north of Ramallah before dawn on Wednesday. According to locals, he died while detained by Israeli forces in an abandoned house.

The Palestinian health ministry identified the cause of death as a heart attack.

The man was identified as Omar Abdel Majid Asaad, an 80-year-old Palestinian who lived in the village with his wife.

“He had heart problems, for which he had undergone surgery in the past, and he was unable to exert himself physically”, Fouad Qattoum, the mayor of Jiljeliyeh told The New Arab.

“Asaad was going home from the house of an old friend, with whom he usually stays talking until late,” said the mayor. “According to security cameras in the area, Israeli soldiers forced him out of the car, beat him, handcuffed him and dragged him for some 200 metres, to the location he was found at”.

“Omar Asaad was old and had heart problems and couldn’t withstand the conditions he was found in”, Qattoum stressed, “sitting in the cold on a raw floor with his hands tied, no wonder he died. It is an ugly crime”, he added.

Asaad was found by a local farmer who was also detained by Israeli forces at the same place. “I noticed he was there by accident,” 52-year-old Muraweh Arouri, who found Asaad, told The New Arab.

“I was driving back to my village with my co-worker, when the soldiers forced us out of the car and took us to an abandoned house, where we sat on the floor,” Arouri said.  

“Then I saw one soldier kneeling beside something and checking it closely. He then called another soldier and they both whispered something, then got up and left without saying anything”.

“Asaad was covered with his own jacket. I saw his foot first and told my co-worker, who thought I was hallucinating out of fear,” Arouri added.

“We pulled the jacket away and I instantly recognised him. He had his hands behind his back and the plastic wire that Israeli soldiers use to handcuff detainees was cut beside him. We tried to shake him, but he didn’t respond, so we called the local doctor.”

Israeli media reported that the Israeli army is "investigating the reports".

Omar Asaad is the third Palestinian killed by Israeli forces or settlers since the beginning of the year. On Thursday, Israeli forces shot a 21-year-old Palestinian dead during a night raid in Nablus, and an Israeli settler ran over and killed a 25-year-old Palestinian west of Ramallah.