An 80-year-old Palestinian man died this morning after being arrested and assaulted by Israeli soldiers in the village of Jiljilya, north of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian Ministry of Health has confirmed. The head of the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah, Ahmad Bitawi, told Al Jazeera that Omar Abdulmajeed Asad was dead on arrival at the hospital at around 5:30am.
According to the local mayor, Asad and members of his family were going home after visiting relatives when their cars were stopped by soldiers. “They stopped the cars in the village centre and arrested the passengers inside and handcuffed them,” Fuad Moutee told AFP. “We demand an international investigation and for the criminals responsible to be held to account.”
Asad’s brother pointed out that he was an elderly man who suffered from respiratory and heart problems. “I don’t understand how a man that age can be considered a danger. They handcuffed him and shoved him. That’s abuse. I have no doubt that what he went through caused his death.”
Overnight raids by the Israeli army are a near daily practice in the occupied West Bank. Israel claims that such raids are essential for intelligence purposes, but rights groups have slammed the practice, insisting that the goal is to oppress and intimidate the Palestinian population and increase state control. Like checkpoints and the separation barrier, the raids are part of the DNA of the occupation, say critics.