RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) – Israeli and Palestinian pathologists disagreed Thursday on what killed a Palestinian Cabinet member who died after a scuffle with Israel border police.
Following a joint autopsy, the Palestinian doctor concluded that Ziad Abu Ain died as a result of a blow to his body, not of natural causes. The Israeli doctor said the 55-year-old’s death was caused by the blockage of a coronary artery.
Abu Ain died Wednesday, shortly after a West Bank confrontation between Palestinian protesters and Israeli border police. An Israeli officer grabbed Abu Ain by the throat at one point. Troops also fired tear gas.
Earlier on Thursday another Palestinian Cabinet member said Abu Ain died as a result of tear gas inhalation and beatings allegedly sustained the confrontation.
Hussein Sheikh, Palestinian minister of civil affairs, told Voice of Palestine radio that delays in getting Abu Ain to the hospital also contributed to his death.
Early Thursday morning, Israeli paramilitary border police clashed with 60-100 rock-throwing Palestinians in the West bank city of Hebron, the Israeli military said. There were no immediate reports of injuries or arrests in the Hebron clashes.
Abu Ain’s funeral is scheduled to begin later Thursday in the West Bank city of Ramallah and Israel has reinforced its forces in the area with two battalions of soldiers and two companies of border police in preparation.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called Abu Ain the victim of a “clear crime” and a “barbaric act.” He decreed three days of mourning for the minister, whose portfolio included organizing protests against Israeli settlements and the West Bank separation barrier.