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Israel punishes officers in death of Palestinian-American

JERUSALEM (AP) — The Israeli military said Tuesday it would reprimand a senior officer and remove two others from leadership roles over the death of a 78-year-old Palestinian who was dragged from a car, bound and blindfolded after being stopped at a checkpoint.

In a rare statement acknowledging error, the army said the soldiers believed Omar Assad, who has United States (US) citizenship, was asleep when they cut his zip-ties and left him face-down in an abandoned building where he had been detained with three other Palestinians last month. The other detainees said they did not know he was there until after the army left.

It’s unclear when exactly Assad died. He was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead after the other detainees found him unconscious.

“The investigation concluded that the incident was a grave and unfortunate event, resulting from a moral failure and poor decision-making on the part of the soldiers,” the military said in a statement.

A separate criminal investigation by the military police is still underway.

Assad, who lived in the US for four decades, still has family living in the US.