Indictments brought by the Southern District Attorney on Thursday, revealed that a Hamas leader paid the parents of an eight-month-old baby girl, to wrongfully blame the IDF’s use of tear gas for her death.
Layla Ghandour died on May 14 and Hamas blamed her death on tear gas used by the IDF against Gazans rioting along the security fence.
Mahmoud Omar, one of those indicted, was related to Layla and he told Israeli Security Forces that prior to his taking part in the riots on May 14, his mother told him that Layla’s parents had called to say that she had died from a blood disease. Layla’s brother died from a similar blood disorder in 2017 at the age of six-months.
Layla’s parents were interviewed by foreign media and her mother, 18-year-old Mariam, was quoted by AFP as saying, “The Israelis killed her.”
The reports of the baby’s death sparked global criticism of the IDF and Israel and her funeral was televised and screened on foreign networks. Two days later, Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said the cause of Laya’s death was being investigated by the Palestinian Justice Ministry.
Omar was arrested after crossing into Israel and trying to set fire to an abandoned IDF post. He was indicted for being a member in a branch of the terrorist Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, military training, and using a weapon for terrorist-related purposes.
The Hamas-led March of Return protests began March 30, and Gazan sources have reported over 130 killed in confrontations with IDF troops stationed along the security fence separating Gaza from Israel.
In addition to riots along the border, rioters have sent thousands of kites and helium balloons into Israel armed with incendiary devices and explosives burning more than 6,000 acres of farmland and nature reserves.
On Wednesday morning, Hamas fired 45 rockets into Israel, seven of which Iron Dome intercepted. Four landed in populated areas. In response, Israeli warplanes struck 25 military targets in Gaza, including four compounds belonging to Hamas.
Last week, the UN General Assembly condemned Israel for its “violent onslaught against unarmed Palestinian civilians peacefully protesting Israeli occupation”.