A cousin of the 8-month-old baby, Laila al-Ghandour, whose Palestinian parents claim died of tear-gas inhalation during the Gaza border clashes last month, said that the family had been paid to lie about the circumstances of the infant’s death by Hamas.
Mahmoud Omar, 20, who was indicted in Beersheva District Court for a number of security-related offenses tied his involvement in the Gaza “March of Return” border protests, admitted that his cousin had actually died of a hereditary blood disease that her brother had also apparently died from a year earlier, according to Hadashot news.
Omar later learned that his aunt and uncle had falsely told the media that Laila had died as a result of tear-gas inhalation.
He testified that Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar paid the family NIS 8,000 ($2,200) to blame the Israel Defense Forces for the baby’s death.
According to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry at the time, the infant died from gas inhalation in the eastern Gaza Strip. Yet at the time, it was also reported that a medical doctor, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the baby had a pre-existing medical condition and did not believe her death was caused by tear gas.
The infant’s death drew international condemnation against Israel amid the outcry over the border deaths.