Israeli Military: Tear Gas May Have Caused Palestinian’s Death in Custody
The Israeli military said on Friday that initial findings of an investigation into the death of a man that Palestinians say was severely beaten in custody showed that he may have died from inhaling tear gas used to disperse attackers.
The Palestinian man died soon after a confrontation on Thursday with the Israeli troops in the West Bank city of Jericho and the Palestinian Authority condemned it as a “cold-blooded execution.”
Israeli military police are probing the incident and a detailed report will be issued, possibly next week, a military spokeswoman said.
In security camera footage posted on social media and also carried by Israeli news sites, soldiers could be seen kicking and striking a man on the ground after detaining him. He was identified by Palestinian officials as Yassin Omar Al-Saradeeh.
The statement said that during the confrontation with some 50 Palestinians “who threw firebombs and rocks and rolled burning tires” at the troops, they used “riot dispersal means adjacent to the area where the suspect was held, and it appears (he) was exposed to gas which may have caused his death.”
A post-mortem examination was being performed on the body at Israel‘s National Institute of Forensic Medicine in Tel Aviv on Friday in the presence of a Palestinian doctor, a Palestinian official said.
The army said that an initial check by “an Israel Defense Forces medic declared his medical condition normal” but that it later deteriorated.
The military statement said troops had “used force in order to subdue the suspect” and that despite shots being fired towards him, “he was most likely not hit.” When asked, the spokeswoman declined to say what that the use of force entailed.
The military said on Thursday that the man was armed with an iron rod and ran towards the soldiers in an attempt to strike them. The troops, it said, were taking part in an operation to arrest “suspects” in Jericho.
The Palestinian Information Ministry claimed about 20 soldiers had administered a “heavy beating” to Saradeeh, especially on his stomach and back.