US Democrats call for investigation into death of 80-year-old Palestinian-American, detained by Israel

US Democrats call for investigation into death of 80-year-old Palestinian-American, detained by Israel
2 min read
17 January, 2022
Omar Asaad, 80, was detained, blindfolded and beaten by Israeli troops on Wednesday, and died following the arrest.
Omar Abdalmajeed Asaad, 80, was found dead after being detained and handcuffed during an Israeli raid in the occupied West Bank [JAAFAR ASHTIYEH/AFP via Getty]

US Democrats have called on Israel to provide answers after the death of an elderly Palestinian-American man who died after being detained by Israeli troops in the West Bank last week.

Omar Abdulmajeed Asaad, 80, was detained, blindfolded and handcuffed by Israeli soldiers on his way back home to Jaljulia village, in the occupied West Bank last Wednesday.

Fouad Qattoum, the head of the municipal council of the village, told The New Arab's Arabic service that security video footage allegedly shows that Asaad was beaten before his death. His body was found early on Wednesday inside an abandoned building.

"The circumstances surrounding his death are gravely concerning and we need a full and thorough investigation to get answers," US Representative Debbie Dingell of Michigan tweeted.

Other representatives were more outspoken and blamed Israel for the murder. "He is now another victim of this cruel occupation," Representative Betty McCollum of Minnesota tweeted on Friday.

US authorities contacted the family of Asaad, who held American citizenship, to express condolences and demanded answers from Israel about the circumstances of his death. Asaad had lived in the US for years before returning to the West Bank ten years ago.

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The Palestinian health ministry identified the immediate cause of death as a heart attack, which could have been the result of what Asaad was subjected to prior to his death. The Israeli authorities said an investigation is underway.

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.