RAMALLAH: An 18-year-old Palestinian died yesterday after a confrontation with Israeli troops, with the army saying it happened while trying to flee and Palestinian officials saying he had been beaten. The Palestinian health ministry said that Amer Abdel-Rahim Sanouber from the village of Yatma in the occupied West Bank arrived at hospital after being "severely beaten on the neck".

The head of the Palestine Medical Complex, Ahmed Al-Betawi, was quoted in the ministry statement as a identifying Sanouber as a "martyr" who was brought to the hospital at 3:00 am (0100 GMT) with "signs of violence and beatings on his neck from the back". In a statement, the Palestine Liberation Organization accused Israeli troops of "a monstrous act of brutality against a defenseless young man whose only crime was being Palestinian".

Senior PLO official Hanan Ashrawi said in the statement that Sanouber had been "bludgeoned" by Israeli troops. Asked about the incident, Israel's army said soldiers responded to an incident north of Ramallah after rocks were hurled at an army vehicle. Troops "in the area were dispatched to the scene and searched the area for assailants" the army statement said.

"Initial details suggest that upon the arrival of the troops… the two suspects tried to escape by foot," it said. "While fleeing, one of the suspects apparently lost consciousness, collapsed and hit his head. The suspect was not beaten by IDF troops," the army added. It said troops at the scene and army medical teams provided medical attention to the suspect, who was "declared dead" following several "resuscitation attempts".

Details of altercations involving Palestinians and Israel's army in the West Bank have been harder to access since the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority ended security coordination with Israel in May. Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said the decision was made in response to Israeli plans to annex parts of the West Bank. Israel put its annexation plans on hold in return for the establishment of full diplomatic ties with the United Arab Emirates. - AFP