Israel was investigating after an 80-year-old Palestinian with U.S. citizenship died of a heart attack after being detained by Israeli soldiers.
The State Department said it was in touch with the Israeli government to seek “clarification” about the incident, which occurred early Wednesday, and that it supports a “thorough investigation.”
Omar Asaad was detained by Israeli forces while returning from a relative’s home in his hometown of Jiljiliya, near Palestinian city of Ramallah. He was brought to a hospital hours later, dead from a heart attack, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.
Jiljiliya Mayor Fouad Qattum, citing witnesses, said the soldiers stopped Asaad’s vehicle and removed him by force shortly before dawn. He said they took Asaad, bound and blindfolded, to an abandoned building nearby. Later, they detained a number of young men from the surrounding area in the same building.
The Israeli military said in a statement Wednesday that Asaad was arrested “after resisting a check” and was released later that night, implying he was alive. It said the military police are reviewing the incident.