Palestinian man said crushed to death at checkpoint
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Palestinian man said crushed to death at checkpoint

Construction worker suffocates as thousands squeeze through security gate from West Bank to Israel, report says

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Illustrative photo of Israeli soldiers at a West Bank checkpoint (Issam Rimawi/Flash90)
Illustrative photo of Israeli soldiers at a West Bank checkpoint (Issam Rimawi/Flash90)

A Palestinian man died on Wednesday when he was caught in a press of workers heading through an Israeli checkpoint between the West Bank and Israel, Palestinian sources said.

The independent Palestinian Ma’an news agency identified the man as Ahmad Samih Bdeir, 39, a construction worker from the village of Farun in the northern West Bank, and said he died at the Shaar Ephraim, also known as al-Tayba, checkpoint.

Witnesses said that pressure built up due to protracted security checks at the installation where thousands of workers are made to pass one at a time through turnstiles and metal detectors.

According to the report, Bdeir “choked to death in extreme overcrowding.”

The Ephraim checkpoint, located near Tulkarem in the northern West Bank, is operated by IDF soldiers together with private security contractors.

The Defense Ministry did not immediately respond to a Times of Israel request for comment on the incident.

Palestinian sources said that a 59-year-old man died in January under similar circumstances.

The Palestinian Federation of Trade Unions says that over 15,000 Palestinians who have permits to work in Israel pass through the checkpoint every day.

Earlier this month some 5,000 Palestinian worker refused to go through the checkpoint in protest over what they termed the “humiliating” conditions.

Israel has maintained stringent security controls on Palestinians entering the country since the suicide bomber onslaught of the Second Intifada of 2000-2004.

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