Palestinian Beaten, Dies During Arrest; Israeli Army Claims He Charged Soldiers

Military says man charged at soldiers with iron bar ■ Footage shows soldiers overtaking Palestinian, beating him on ground ■ Sources: No gunshot wounds found on body

Checkpoint at the entrance to Jericho, 2008
דניאל בר-און / ג'ינ

A Palestinian man died after he was arrested overnight by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank city of Jericho on Thursday. A Palestinian NGO said that the man was beaten to death by the soldiers.

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The official military response said that the man was shot by the soldiers while charging at them with an iron bar. Military sources said later that shots were fired during the arrest, but no bullet wounds were found on the body. Therefore, the growing assessment is that the man died from the beating he sustained from the soldiers.

A video distributed online documents an incident in which a Palestinian man is assaulted by Israeli soldiers during a military operation in Jericho. The military confirmed that the Palestinian later died of his wounds.

The video shows the soldiers overtaking the Palestinian and continuing to beat him while he lays on the ground with several soldiers around him.

The military confirmed that the video documents an incident that took place Wednesday night in Jericho, but claims it captures it in a way that does not allow full comprehension of the incident.

The Israeli army said that riots erupted during a raid on the West Bank city in which a “terrorist armed with an iron bar charged at the soldiers and tried to attack them. The force responded with gunfire, confronted the terrorist from close range and managed to stop him. A knife was found in his possession. He was evacuated by the force from the scene to receive medical treatment. He was later pronounced dead.”

An earlier military statement said that the man attacked the soldiers with a knife and tried to steal a gun, adding that he was treated by military medics on the scene. The video does not show an attempt to steal a gun. Later, the military retracted the statement and issued a new one.

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Club identified the man as 33-year-old Yasin al-Saradih. The statement said the man was beaten and wounded by teargas inhalation.

His family told Haaretz that al-Saradih was not suffering from a disease or other medical issues. They told Haaretz that he was single and that he worked in all sorts of jobs, from construction to agriculture. He was also a soccer player who played at the Alhalhel center in Jericho.  

In 2002, he was wounded by gunfire in the second intifada, but wasn’t involved with any Palestinian factions or organizations of the sort. His family says he wasn’t wanted by any security organizations as far as the family is concerned.

According to the family, young people often hang out in the city center late at night, particularly those who do not have steady work. When the Israeli army enters the town, they say, it often leads to confrontations and clashes of force.

Eid Barahmeh, Head of the prisoner’s club in Jericho, told Haaretz Yasin was arrested at around 2:00 A.M. Two hours later, the family was notified of his death. According to Barahmeh, al-Saradih’s body was transferred to the Forensic Institute in Abu Kabir, and that a physician appointed by the family was present during the autopsy.

Last Friday, two Palestinians were killed and two others were wounded by Israeli shells when they approached the Gaza border, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.

The bodies were identified as Salem Mohammed Sabah and Abdullah Ayman Sheikha, both 17, from Rafah.

Over that weekend, the Israeli military struck 18 targets in the Gaza Strip  following an escalation on the border. A rocket fired from Gaza hit a house in an Israeli community on Saturday, causing property damage.