Gaza tear gas baby left off official death count

Gaza City (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) –


A baby who died near the Gaza border was not included in a Gaza health ministry list of Palestinians killed by the Israel army, after a dispute over how she died.

The ministry and family members originally said 8-month-old Leila al-Ghandour had died after inhaling tear gas along the border during a day of clashes in which at least 61 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire.

The Israeli army disputed the claim, calling it "fake news" by Hamas, the Islamist movement that rules the coastal enclave.

The army claimed she had a pre-existing medical condition, citing an unnamed doctor with access to her file.

A full list of those the ministry called "martyrs," published this week for the first time, did not include Ghandour.

The health ministry has said a full review of her death was underway.

Ashraf al-Qudra, a spokesman for the ministry, said her name would not be included until the review was completed, without giving a time frame.

"Her name was not included in earlier lists either," Qudra told AFP, though no exhaustive list had previously been made public.

"The investigation will determine (whether she had a pre-existing condition) and if the inhaled gas contributed to her death."

At least 61 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire on May 14th when thousands of Palestinians protested as the US officially moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, according to the ministry's figures.

At least 114 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in the Gaza Strip since mass demonstrations broke out on March 30th, it said.

This was several lower than previous tolls compiled by AFP on the basis of the ministry's reports.

The ministry's list does not include those whose bodies were not recovered by Palestinian medics.

The Israeli army is believed to have kept the bodies of several people shot near or along the border.

The army did not immediately respond to questions about the number of bodies it may be holding.