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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 15 December 2018

Israeli soldiers beat Palestinian man to death in 'cold-blooded execution'

The Israeli military is investigating the killing

Israeli troops killed a Palestinian man in the occupied West Bank on Thursday in what the Palestinian Authority condemned as a "cold-blooded execution".

The Israeli military claimed the man had attempted to attack troops and that it was investigating the incident.

In security camera footage posted on social media and carried by Israeli news sites, soldiers can be seen kicking and striking a man, identified by Palestinian officials as Yassin Omar Serda, after detaining him in the town of Jericho.

The Palestinian Information Ministry said about 20 soldiers had administered a "heavy beating" to Serda, especially on his stomach and back.

"The Information Ministry views [his] martyrdom … shortly after his arrest a cold-blooded execution," it added.

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The Israeli military said "troops fired towards the assailant and confronted him from close range" after he allegedly ran towards them, armed with an iron rod.

It said the man was taken to hospital following the "confrontation" but later pronounced dead.

The troops had been on a raid to arrest "suspects" at the time of the incident, it added. Israeli troops frequently launch raids in the West Bank to detain Palestinians its says are suspected militants.

Serda's family said it was seeking to have an autopsy performed.

Rights groups have long criticised Israeli troops for carrying out extrajudicial killings of Palestinians who the military claims to be suspected attackers.

Israeli soldier Elor Azaria was sentenced in February last year to 18 months in prison for killing a wounded and incapacitated alleged Palestinian attacker in the West Bank town of Hebron in 2015. He was convicted of manslaughter, a crime that carries a maximum sentence of 20 years.

His trial was one of the most divisive in Israeli history. Supporters argued he was justified in shooting a Palestinian who they said had intended to kill Israelis. But the military said he violated standing orders and that his conduct was unbecoming of an Israeli soldier.