Palestinian Infant Dies After Inhaling Israeli Tear Gas

Published July 8th, 2017 - 12:30 GMT
Tear gas is fired at Palestinian protesters southwest Bethlehem in 2011 (Wikimedia Commons)
Tear gas is fired at Palestinian protesters southwest Bethlehem in 2011 (Wikimedia Commons)

An 18-month old Palestinian infant died on Friday, some two months after suffering from tear gas inhalation when Israeli forces shot tear gas at Palestinian homes in the village of Abud in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah.  

According to Palestinian news agency Wafa, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said that 18-month-old Abdul Rahman Barghouti, was transferred to Hadassah Hospital in West Jerusalem after suffering from tear gas inhalation in May, owing to the severity of his condition. 
 
However, Wafa pointed out that “all efforts to save his life failed,” and the infant was declared dead on Friday evening.  
 
Barghouti was injured after clashes broke out across the occupied West Bank on May 19 in support of some 1,300 Palestinian prisoners who were undergoing a mass hunger strike to demand better treatment and conditions in Israeli prisons. 
 
At the time, Israeli forces haphazardly shot tear gas at Palestinian homes, which caused many residents, including Barghouti, to suffer from tear gas inhalation. 
 
At the same time, Israeli forces opened live ammunition on protesters, injuring several Palestinian youths in the lower part of their bodies.
 
According to Wafa, Israeli soldiers had prevented Palestinian Red Crescent ambulances from reaching Barghouti’s home to treat him, and blocked the ambulances with Israeli army jeeps, forcing Palestinian medics to rush on foot to the infant to provide first aid. 
 
The medics were also forced to carry him back to the ambulances, which were located a 30 minute walk away from Barghouti’s house, Wafa pointed out. 
 
Barghouti became the 36th Palestinian to be killed by Israeli forces since the start of 2017. Eight Israelis have also been killed by Palestinians during the same time period. 
 
Israeli forces have been the target of condemnation by rights groups for their excessive use of force on Palestinians. During clashes, Israeli forces shoot large amounts of tear gas, at times directly at Palestinian homes, leading to routine injuries and the occasional death. 
 
In 2016, Muhammad Mustafa Habash, 63, from the Asira al-Shamaliya village in the northern West Bank district of Nablus, died of tear gas inhalation during clashes that broke out with Israeli forces at Qalandiya checkpoint in Ramallah. 
 
In 2015, when a wave of violence first erupted across Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory, an 8-month-old infant died of tear gas inhalation in the village of Beit Fajjar in Bethlehem. 
 
Several days before the infant’s death, a beloved local activist in Hebron, 54-year-old  Dr. Hashem al-Azzeh, also died from tear gas inhalation.

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