A baby girl has reportedly died from tear gas inhalation suffered during the fierce violence at the Gaza-Israel border during protests over the US’ embassy move to Jerusalem, the Gaza health ministry has said.
Eight-month-old Leila Anwar Ghandoor died in hospital on Tuesday morning, taking Monday’s toll to 58 killed. Another 57 people died after being shot by Israeli troops and 2,700 were injured, many shot in the legs. Medics and journalists were among the injured in what the Palestinian Authority condemned as a "massacre".
Later on Tuesday, a doctor in Gaza told the AP he believed the infant may have had a pre-existing medical condition that contributed to her death. It was not immediately clear whether an autopsy will be performed but human rights group Al Mezan said it is investigating her death.
Around 40,000 people gathered at three crossing points in the security fence which separates the Gaza Strip from Israel on Monday, the culmination of a weeks-long campaign in the run up to the US embassy move and the Nakba, or ‘Catastrophe’, on Tuesday, which comes a day after Israel's 70th birthday – as per the Gregorian calendar (Israel celebrates it according to the Hebrew calendar, and it fell this year in April).
The Israeli air force dropped leaflets from drones warning Gazans to stay away from the border area.
The order given to Israeli soldiers was to prevent Palestinians trying to cross into Israel at any price, including direct live fire – the consequences of which have drawn fierce condemnation from the international community.
Leila's family told media that the baby's mother had left the child at home to join the demonstrations. When the infant began crying her uncle took her towards the protest area in order to locate his sister.
Reports on Palestinian social media said Leila had been in a tent away from the security fence when a tear gas canister was dropped by a drone. The reports could not be immediately verified.
The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Fresh protests are expected on Tuesday. Tensions are running high as many families bury their dead from the previous day.
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