Gazan doctor, Israel cast doubts over Hamas claim infant died from tear gas
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Gazan doctor, Israel cast doubts over Hamas claim infant died from tear gas

Health official says 8-month-old had a preexisting medical condition, contradicting Hamas-run ministry, which counted her among 60 Palestinians killed by IDF

Palestinians run for cover from tear gas fired by Israeli forces near the border between the Gaza strip and Israel east of Gaza City on May 14, 2018. (AFP/ MAHMUD HAMS)
Palestinians run for cover from tear gas fired by Israeli forces near the border between the Gaza strip and Israel east of Gaza City on May 14, 2018. (AFP/ MAHMUD HAMS)

A Gaza health official cast doubt Tuesday on initial claims that an 8-month-old baby died from Israeli tear gas fired during mass protests on the Gaza border with Israel.

A Gazan doctor told the Associated Press that the baby, Layla Ghandour, had a preexisting medical condition and that he did not believe her death was caused by tear gas. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to disclose medical information to the media.

Layla’s family claimed Tuesday that the baby had ended up in the area of the protest as a result of a mixup, the AP reported added. The Gaza Health Ministry initially counted her among several dozen Palestinians killed Monday.

A Gaza human rights group, Al Mezan, said it was looking into the circumstances of the infant’s death.

Relatives of a Leila al-Ghandour, a Palestinian baby of 8 months who according to Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry died of tear gas inhalation during clashes in East Gaza the previous day, hold her at the morgue of al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City on May 15, 2018. A Gaza doctor, who said she had a preexisting medical condition, and Israel disputed the circumstances of her death (AFP/MAHMUD HAMS)

The IDF’s Arabic spokesman Avichay Adraee also tweeted that Israel has “several testimonies” that called into question the authenticity of claims regarding the circumstances of the baby’s death.

The Gaza Strip’s Hamas-run health ministry said Tuesday morning 60 Palestinians had been killed during violent clashes along the territory’s border with Israel the previous day, including the baby.

Eight of those killed by gunshots in the clashes were children, the ministry said. In addition, 1,360 Palestinians were wounded by gunfire, including 130 who were in serious or critical condition. It said 2,771 people were injured overall.

The IDF said Tuesday that 24 of those killed were members of the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror groups.

Israel accused the Hamas terror group of encouraging the protests and using them as cover to attempt to carry out terror attacks, including firing at troops and attempting to breach the border fence.

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