A Palestinian man who was arrested after calling medics to attend to a baby with a serious head injury is suspected of having harmed the 11-month-old in the southern coastal city of Ashkelon.
The Palestinian, 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 for the suspect and the baby’s mother, 22.
Obeid was remanded for five days, while the mother’s arrest was extended by two days.
The mother is suspected of neglect and of sheltering the permit-less Palestinian for the past few months, the court heard. Police also suspect she had serially abused the baby over an unknown period of time.
The Palestinian, 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.
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 apparently baby 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. She remains in critical condition at Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba after undergoing surgery.
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