RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories (AFP) - The Palestinians on Thursday accused Israel of killing a senior official who died a day earlier in a confrontation with troops during a protest march in the West Bank.
"After hearing the results of the post-mortem, the Palestinian government holds Israel fully responsible for the killing of Ziad Abu Ein," government spokesman Ihab Bseiso told reporters.
Abu Ein, 55, died on Wednesday following a violent confrontation with Israeli soldiers near the city of Ramallah, in an incident that prompted Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas to threaten measures in response.
Israel's army deployed reinforcements to the West Bank Thursday, anticipating clashes with Palestinians after Abu Ein's funeral, which was to take place early in the afternoon in Ramallah.
A Palestinian minister earlier said the post-mortem, which was carried out by a Palestinian, an Israeli and Jordanian doctors, had shown that Abu Ein was killed by the actions of Israeli troops.
"The reason for the death of Abu Ein was his being hit by (Israeli) occupation troops and because of the heavy use of tear gas," Palestinian civil affairs minister Hussein al-Sheikh told AFP.
Sheikh said Israeli forces had prevented Abu Ein from getting to hospital quickly enough to save his life.
The confrontation erupted as Abu Ein took part in a march of about 300 Palestinians who intended to plant olive trees as a symbolic act of protest against Israeli settlements, according to an AFP photographer.
The group was confronted by soldiers and border police in the village of Turmusayya. Tear gas was fired, three soldiers grabbed Abu Ein and he was struck in the chest, the photographer said.
An Israeli army doctor rushed to treat him before he was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Israel on Thursday deployed additional soldiers and border guards to the West Bank, an army spokeswoman told AFP, anticipating protests and heavy clashes after the funeral.
Abu Ein was a former deputy Palestinian Authority minister.