A three-year-old boy died on Sunday after apparently choking in a sandbox at a daycare center in the southern city of Kiryat Gat, police and medics said.
Police questioned five staff members over the incident and released them to house arrest pending the end of the investigation into the incident.
A teacher said that the boy, identified as Yehiel Michel Herbst, was playing in a sandbox in the kindergarten, operated by the Belz Hasidic group, when he started choking.
The boy was brought inside by other children with his mouth and face covered in sand. One of the teachers and an assistant tried cleaning out the boy’s mouth, but he lost consciousness.
He was rushed by the Magen David Adom rescue service to Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon in critical condition, and was pronounced dead on arrival.
One of the paramedics reported that when she arrived the boy had no pulse and was not breathing.
“A three-year-old boy was brought here after he had been found in his kindergarten not breathing,” the hospital said. “MDA carried out resuscitation attempts, which unfortunately did not succeed, and the hospital declared him dead.”