Ashkelon baby dies of injuries allegedly inflicted by mother’s boyfriend

Ashkelon baby dies of injuries allegedly inflicted by mother’s boyfriend

11-month-old girl arrived at hospital in critical condition; police suspect she suffered serious abuse; mother released from custody

Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba. (Courtesy Soroka Medical Center)
Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba. (Courtesy Soroka Medical Center)

An 11-month-old baby girl who was rushed to the hospital earlier this week with a critical head injury has died, the Soroka Medical Center said Wednesday.

“It is with great regret that we announce the death of the baby from Ashkelon due to her critical injury, despite the efforts of medical staff,” the hospital said in a statement and offered condolences to the family.

A Palestinian man and the baby’s mother, 22, were both arrested in the suspected abuse case. Police suspect that the man caused the injuries to the baby on Monday night in the southern coastal city.

The mother was released on Wednesday after a judge ruled there was no reasonable suspicions for a crime having been committed on her part.

The man, named by Hebrew-language media as 21-year-old Ziad Obeid from the West Bank, is suspected of attacking a helpless person, abandoning a minor and being in Israel without a permit, police told Ashkelon Magistrate’s Court during a Tuesday remand hearing.

Obeid was remanded for five days, while the mother’s detention was extended by two days.

The Palestinian man, the mother, and the baby’s father were all arrested Monday after the girl was seriously injured. The father, who reportedly lives in a southern Bedouin community, was later released. Another man was arrested and remanded for two days for allegedly helping Obeid try to escape the scene after he had summoned an ambulance to attend to the girl.

Police suspect the mother went out Monday evening and left the baby with Obeid, whom various news outlets described as her boyfriend.

While the mother was out the baby apparently sustained a serious head injury, which Obeid reported to the Magen David Adom ambulance service before fleeing the apartment. Police suspect that Obeid attacked the baby because he was angry at the mother for going out.

An eyewitness, Eli, described to Army Radio what happened as the Palestinian suspect alerted neighbors that the baby was injured.

He said the man knocked on their door and asked for help, shouting, “Help me, help me, my daughter isn’t breathing, she isn’t feeling well, she has lost consciousness.”

Although he initially told them he was her father, he did not later repeat the claim and the girl’s father was found to be another man.

Eli said a medic tried to resuscitate the girl. As they waited for an ambulance to arrive, Eli questioned Obeid about what had happened and became suspicious of his answers.

The man told him that the baby had a temperature, that he had given her some medication he found in the refrigerator and then “she suddenly lost consciousness.”

During the commotion after an ambulance arrived and medics attended to the baby, Obeid disappeared. He was later found heading toward the West Bank and arrested.

It was unclear how the baby was injured.

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