| Palestinian relatives of Mariam Ayyad mourn at the family's house in the West Bank village of Abu Dis, near Jerusalem. (AP) |
IDF rejects claim it caused woman's death by shoving her to ground
By Yuval Azoulay, Haaretz Correspondent, and News Agencies
Palestinian sources accused Border Police officers of causing the death of a 60-year-old Palestinian woman by shoving her during a raid in the West Bank town of Abu Dis on Sunday - a charge the Israel Defense Forces vehemently rejected.
Palestinian sources said Mariam Ayyad had tried to block the path of IDF soldiers who came to Abu Dis, near Jerusalem, overnight to detain students lodging in a property she owned. They said IDF soldiers shoved the woman who then hit the pavement.
The IDF confirmed that troops were carrying out searches in the woman's home, but said the Palestinian charges were unfounded and that her death appears to have been caused by a preexisting heart condition.
The military sources verified that the Border Police conducted the raid in an attempt to locate a suspect, but stated there was no contact between the woman and the police. The sources said the woman apparently slipped and fell during the raid.
A doctor who was present during the incident rushed to examine the woman and offer her medical assistance, but was unable to revive her, the IDF said. The army said the exam, bolstered by statements by family members, indicated that the woman had had a heart condition for years, which apparently led to her death.
"The doctor offered her help and tried to revive her, but in accordance with all the signs, he determined that she died because of a heart problem," an IDF source said on Sunday. He said the Border Police officers acted properly during the operation.
The director of the clinic where Ayyad was taken says she arrived dead, with a broken skull and possible internal bleeding.
An IDF spokesperson said Ayyad fell on a stairway in the overnight raid but attributed the fall to an apparent heart attack. The spokesperson added that family members said she had a heart condition. It denied that any soldier pushed Ayyad or caused her to fall, and said that an army doctor had tried to help Ayyad before pronouncing her dead.
"She went outside in order to prevent them from arresting someone in her house," one of the students, who would only be identified by his nickname, Abu Yaffa, told Reuters. "They knocked her down and there was blood on her head."
Nesrin Jasan, an Abu Dis doctor who examined Ayyad said, "The cause of death was being pushed to the ground and being struck in the head."