RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories - A senior Palestinian official died Wednesday after being beaten by Israeli forces during a protest march in the West Bank, medical and security sources told AFP.
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas condemned the killing as "barbaric" and vowed measures in response.
Ziad Abu Ein, who was in charge of the issue of Israeli settlements for the Palestinian Authority, "was martyred after being beaten in the chest," said Ahmed Bitawi, the director of the Ramallah hospital.
A Palestinian security source told AFP that Israeli forces beat Abu Ein with the butts of their rifles and their helmets during a protest march in the village of Turmus Ayya near Ramallah.
An AFP photographer said Israeli soldiers had fired tear gas as Abu Ein participated in a march of some 300 Palestinians who intended to plant olive trees.
Three soldiers grabbed Abu Ein and hit him in the chest, the photographer said. Abu Ein fell and an Israeli army doctor rushed to treat him before he was evacuated to hospital.
The Israeli army had no immediate comment.
Abbas condemned "the brutal assault that led to the martyrdom" of Abu Ein, calling it "a barbaric act that cannot be tolerated or accepted," official Palestinian news agency WAFA said.
"We will take the necessary measures after the results of the investigation into the incident," Abbas said, declaring three days of mourning.