Officials doubt claims baby dies from tear gas

By  | 

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Gaza health officials are casting doubt on initial claims that a 9-month-old baby died from Israeli tear gas fired during mass protests on the Gaza border with Israel.

A medical doctor said Tuesday that the baby, Layla Ghaben, had a pre-existing medical condition and that he did not believe her death was caused by tear gas. He spoke on condition of anonymity because of he was not allowed to disclose medical information to the media.

Layla's family claimed Tuesday that the baby had ended up in the area of the protest as a result of a mix-up. The Gaza Health Ministry initially counted her among several dozen Palestinians killed Monday.

A Gaza human rights group, Al Mezan, says it is looking into the circumstances of the infant's death.

___

1:45 p.m.

Ireland's foreign ministry has summoned the Israeli ambassador to express "shock and dismay" over the latest bloodshed in the Gaza Strip and is calling for an independent investigation.

Gaza health officials say Israeli forces killed 58 Palestinians, most by gunfire, and injured more than 2,700 in border protests Monday.

Ireland says that during Tuesday's meeting with the Israeli ambassador, it also said it was "very disturbed" by injuries to more than 200 health workers in Gaza.

"The ambassador has been informed of Irish demands for an independent international investigation into yesterday's deaths lead by the U.N.," a statement said.

___

1:40 p.m.

Palestinians are clashing with Israeli troops in the West Bank a day after deadly clashes killed dozens in the Gaza Strip.

Thick black smoke billowed from burning tires as Palestinians threw stones at Israeli troops, who responded with tear gas. About 200 Palestinians were protesting in the biblical city of Bethlehem while another 100 were demonstrating in the Palestinian city of Ramallah.

Palestinians are marking the anniversary Tuesday of what they call their "nakba," or catastrophe, a reference to the uprooting of hundreds of thousands who fled or were expelled during the 1948 war surrounding Israel's creation.

Israeli forces killed 58 Palestinians in Monday's clashes in Gaza. Organizers say the weekly protests are meant to bust a decade-old blockade on the territory. Israel says Hamas is using the demonstrations as cover to carry out attacks.

___

1:30 p.m.

Palestinians in the West Bank city of Ramallah have marked the 70th anniversary of their mass displacement with a 70-second siren.

People stood at attention and traffic stopped in parts of the city Tuesday to mark the moment, though in some areas, the sirens appeared to malfunction and could barely be heard.

Palestinians mark May 15 as their "nakba," or catastrophe, when hundreds of thousands of people either fled or were expelled from their homes.

This year, the occasion was especially sad for Palestinians, coming a day after the U.S. opened its new embassy to Israel in Jerusalem and 58 Palestinians were killed in Gaza during protests along the Israeli border.