Palestinian cabinet member dies in clash with Israeli soldiers

A member of the Palestinian cabinet has reportedly died after being hit by a tear gas canister fired by Israeli troops during a protest in the West Bank.

Palestinian cabinet member dies in clash with Israeli soldiers

A member of the Palestinian cabinet has reportedly died after being hit by a tear gas canister fired by Israeli troops during a protest in the West Bank.

Mahmoud Aloul, a leading member of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement, said Ziad Abu Ain died shortly after the incident near the West Bank village of Turmus Aya.

Mr Aloul says he and Mr Abu Ain had been among dozens of protesters carrying olive tree saplings during a protest against land confiscations when Israeli troops fired tear gas at them and later beat some of the participants with rifle butts.

The Israeli military said it was looking into the report.

Fellow marcher Salah Hawajeh said Mr Abu Ain marched toward the soldiers ahead of everyone else, until he was stopped by a soldier.

He said the soldier head-butted Mr Abu Ain and then hit him in the chest with his rifle butt.

Mr Hawajeh said Mr Abu Ain then dropped to the ground and was evacuated by ambulance.

Mr Abu Ain headed a Palestinian Authority department dealing with Israeli settlements and the separation barrier, and had the rank of cabinet member.

Previously, he served as deputy minister for prisoner affairs.

Osama Najar, a spokesman for the Palestinian Health Ministry, said a post-mortem examination would be performed to determine the cause of death.

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