The State Department says it supports an investigation into the death of 80-year-old Omar Asaad, who was arrested by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank.

By Sanjana Karanth, HuffPost

The U.S. Department of State has voiced its support for an investigation into the Wednesday death of an elderly Palestinian American man who his family and local officials said was detained by Israeli soldiers during a raid on an occupied West Bank village.

Omar Abdulmajeed Asaad, 80, was a U.S. citizen whose body was found in Jiljilya early Wednesday morning, the State Department confirmed. He was found with a plastic zip tie still around one wrist, according to Reuters.

man with hands tied

“We can confirm the death of the U.S. citizen Omar Assad in a city near Ramallah. We have been in touch with Mr. Assad’s family to express our condolences about this tragedy. We are providing, as you would expect, all appropriate consular assistance to the family at this time,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said.

“We’ve also been in touch with the government of Israel to seek clarification about this incident. And, as you may have seen, the Israeli Defense Forces have indicated there is an ongoing investigation into the matter,” Price continued. “We support a thorough investigation into the circumstances of this incident. Of course, out of respect for the family during this time, we have little more that we’re able to offer.”

The Israeli Defense Force told Reuters that soldiers carried out an overnight raid in Jiljilya and that a Palestinian was “apprehended after resisting a check.” The IDF claimed the man was alive when soldiers released him, despite other detainees claiming they witnessed otherwise. Israeli army spokesperson Amnon Shefler said the incident would be investigated “in a thorough and professional manner.”

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