Thursday, June 21, 2018

Hamas Paid Family To Claim Gaza Baby Was Killed By Israeli Tear Gas - Actually Died From Blood Disease

Hamas paid family to claim Gaza baby was killed by Israeli tear gas, says cousin

A 20-year-old Palestinian indicted Thursday on terror-related charges told Israeli investigators during his interrogation that Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar paid his relatives to falsely tell the media that his baby cousin died of tear gas inhalation.
The story of baby Layla Ghandour’s death, purportedly from inhaling tear gas fired by Israel at the Gaza border, made headlines around the world last month and intensified global criticism of Israel’s handling of Hamas-spurred violence at the fence.
On May 28, IDF forces arrested Mahmoud Omar along with another member of Fatah’s armed wing, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, after they attempted to infiltrate into Israel and torch an unmanned IDF post, the Southern District Attorney’s indictment against him said.

Omar had been acting as the lookout while two other members of his squad were to cut through the fence and cross into Israel. The group did not manage to carry out the attack as they came under IDF fire. Israeli forces captured Omar and one other accomplice, while the third attacker managed to flee, according to the indictment.
IDF troops found wire-cutters as well as a bottle of gasoline and a video camera at the scene.
During his questioning, Omar told interrogators the details of the planned attack and detailed his involvement in other terror-related activities.
The suspect also disclosed that he was related to Layla Ghandour, the 8-month-old baby whose May 14 death was originally reported to have been caused by inhalation of tear gas sprayed by Israeli forces at Gaza border protesters. The story of the baby’s purported death at the hands of Israel dominated global media at the time, becoming one of the central elements of reporting on Palestinian opposition to the May 14 inauguration of the US embassy in Jerusalem.

According to the indictment, Omar told authorities that two weeks prior to his arrest, he was among the 40,000 Gazans taking part in the May 14 protests at the border when his mother called to inform him that his baby cousin had died.

Upon arriving home shortly thereafter, the suspect was told that Layla had died of a blood disease similar to the one that took the life of the deceased infant’s brother, who succumbed to the condition at the same age in 2017.
However, Omar told authorities, Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar paid Layla’s parents, Miriam and Anwar Ghandour, NIS 8,000 ($2,206) to tell the media that the infant had died due to tear gas inhalation at the Gaza protests.
Members of the family subsequently gave a series of interviews blaming Israel for Layla’s death. In an article published by AFP on May 15, for instance, the baby’s mother, Mariam al-Ghandour, said, “The Israelis killed her.” The baby’s mother was not asked whether the baby had a preexisting medical condition, and the family indicated to the AFP reporter that she had been healthy, The Times of Israel, which was seeking to ascertain precisely what had happened, was told.

Layla’s mother Mariam, herself only 17, and other members of the family precisely detailed to the AFP reporter the purported sequence of events that led to Layla’s death at the hands of Israel. She explained to AFP that she had a dentist appointment “so I left Leila with my brothers at home.” She added: “My little brother took her and went to the border.”

On the day of Layla’s death on May 14, the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry initially said she died from tear gas fired by Israeli forces.

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