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8-month-old baby dies near Bethlehem; Israel denies tear gas caused death

18:00 Oct 30 2015 Beit Fajjar

8-month-old baby dies near Bethlehem; Israel denies tear gas caused death 8-month-old baby dies near Bethlehem; Israel denies tear gas caused death
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Untitled: MaanImages

Palestinian protesters run for cover from tear gas fired by Israeli security forces during clashes at the entrance of the Palestinian town of Al-Bireh on the outskirts of Ramallah, on October 30, 2015 Credit: AFP
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BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- An eight-month-old Palestinian baby died Friday from tear gas inhalation in Beit Fajjar village south of Bethlehem during clashes in the area, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said.

The ministry said in a statement that Ramadan Mohammad Faisal Thawabta died after inhaling tear gas when clashes erupted nearby between Palestinians and Israeli military forces.

Thawabta's body is being transported to Beit Jala Governmental Hospital.

Three Palestinians were injured with 0.22 caliber bullets during clashes in the village, the ministry added.

An Israeli army spokesperson did not have any immediate information but told Ma'an they were looking into the incident.

The eight-month-old child's death brings the total number of Palestinians killed this month to nearly 70, at least ten of whom have been children.

Sixty-nine Palestinians have been killed from clashes and attacks on Israeli military personnel and civilians, many of which have been disputed.

At least nine Israelis have been killed in attacks by Palestinians during the same time period.

Earlier Friday, Qassem Mahmoud Sabaneh was shot dead after an alleged attack on an Israeli border policeman in Nablus, and Ahmad Hamada Qneibi, 23, died from his injuries hours after attacking and injuring an Israeli in occupied East Jerusalem.

Clashes across occupied Palestinian territory initially began to escalate following the fatal shooting of two Israeli settlers on Oct. 1 as well as increased restrictions on Palestinians in East Jerusalem.
Near-daily clashes in the Bethlehem area have left at least three Palestinians dead, including a 13-year-old.

On Thursday, Israeli military forces told residents of Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem over a loudspeaker that unless they stopped throwing stones, the forces would gas them until they die.

“Inhabitants of Aida, we are the Israeli occupation forces, if you throw stones we will hit you with gas until you die. The children, the youth, and the old people, all of you – we won’t spare any of you."

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Jack Khoury and Gili Cohen for Haaretz
Oct 30, 2015/ 8:18 pm

Dozens of Palestinians were wounded in clashes with Israeli security forces across the West Bank and the Gaza border on Friday.

According to Palestinian sources, an eight-month-old baby died from inhaling tear gas fired by Israeli forces in clashes in the Beit Fajjar village, south of Bethlehem. 

According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, the baby, Mohammed Faisal Thouabta, was rushed to a Bethlehem hospital where he was pronounced dead.  
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by Gili Cohen for Haaretz, Oct 31, 2015 | 7 pm

>I> Israeli army says no tear gas fired in vicinity of eight-month-old Mohammed Thawabta's home; relatives say baby suffered from birth defect, military source says.

Tear gas fired by Israeli forces during clashes in the West Bank on Friday had no direct link to the death of a Palestinian baby, the Israel Defense Forces said on Saturday, rejecting Palestinian claims to the contrary. 

According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, eight-month-old Mohammed Faisal Thawabta was pronounced dead at a Bethlehem hospital after he inhaled tear gas during clashes in the Beit Fajjar village, south of Bethlehem. But the IDF said an investigation into the incident showed that tear gas was not used in the vicinity of the baby's family home, but dozens of meters away. 

An Israeli military source also added that the baby's relatives said he suffered from a birth defect. Hospital sources also told Reuters the infant had a prior health condition and that it was unclear what had caused his death.  

The IDF Spokesperson's Unit stated that dozens of Palestinians were torching tires and throwing stones at army forces deployed to stop the protesters from heading to the nearby Migdal Oz settlement. The troops pushed back the protesters using crowd dispersal means, as well as rubber bullet and low-velocity bullet fire. 

"An investigation shows that no crowd dispersal means were directly targeting the Thawabta family home. The use of gas canisters was made several dozen meters away from the family home, toward rioters who blocked the main route with rocks," said the statement. 
"In light of the findings of the investigations – operational and medical – the IDF believes there is no direct link between IDF activities in the area and the tragic death of the Palestinian baby."
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