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Palestinian man dies after falling into elevator shaft during police chase

Worker who was illegally in Israel fled from officers conducting searches near Tel Aviv construction site

Border Police and ZAKA members operate in the building site in Tel Aviv where a Palestinian man fell to his death following a police chase on March 24, 2021 (ZAKA spokesperson)
Border Police and ZAKA members operate in the building site in Tel Aviv where a Palestinian man fell to his death following a police chase on March 24, 2021 (ZAKA spokesperson)

A 20-year-old Palestinian laborer fell to his death at a Tel Aviv construction site on Wednesday, while police were conducting searches for workers who had illegally entered Israel.

The worker, from the Ramallah area in the West Bank, fled from officers near the building site. Police said the man, who was working in Israel without a permit, ran into the unfinished building and “apparently jumped into an [elevator] shaft dozens of meters deep, in an attempt to escape.”

A spokesperson for Magen David Adom, Israel’s national emergency medical service, said that medics who were called to the scene pronounced the man’s death.

Police said they were investigating the incident.

Palestinian laborers cross illegally into Israeli areas through a hole in Israel’s security barrier on November 20, 2019, near the southern Israeli city of Beersheba (HAZEM BADER / AFP)

While reliable numbers are hard to come by, thousands of Palestinians are estimated to be working illegally in the country — mostly in construction and other manual labor.

Around 70,000 Palestinians have official work permits, according to the Bank of Israel.

Police said they had been cracking down on the phenomenon, regularly conducting searches in building sites in Israel.

AFP contributed to this report.

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