Palestinian baby killed in tear gas incident

  • 31/10/2015
Palestinian baby killed in tear gas incident

A Palestinian baby boy has died after choking on tear gas fired by Israeli forces, Palestinian officials say, as new knife attacks and clashes shook Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Eight-month-old Ramadan Thawabteh became the latest victim of a wave of violence that erupted a month ago in Jerusalem but has since shifted to the occupied West Bank with daily knife attacks on Israeli soldiers and violent protests.

Jerusalem saw its first knife attack in two weeks on Friday (local time) when a 23-year-old Palestinian stabbed and lightly wounded an American tourist before being shot dead, police said.

Many fear the surge of unrest heralds a new intifada, or uprising, against Israel by a generation gripped by despair and anger over decades of occupation and stalled peace efforts.

In the city of Nablus, two Palestinians allegedly tried to stab members of Israeli forces guarding a major checkpoint, and were shot, police said. One died and the other was wounded and arrested.

Elsewhere in the West Bank, in the volatile city of Hebron hundreds of youths threw stones and firebombs and rolled burning tyres at Israeli soldiers who responded with tear gas and rubber bullets, an AFP journalist said.

Bethlehem also saw violent clashes, and tear gas fired by Israeli troops near the home of Ramadan Thawabteh "asphyxiated" the baby, a spokesman for the Palestinian health ministry told AFP.

Clashes also erupted in Ramallah where an AFP journalist reported an Israeli army jeep hit a crowd of protesters, injuring a young man.

Israeli police said security forces "saw a Palestinian armed with a sharp object" approaching them. An officer then ordered one of his men driving a jeep to hit the assailant who was "seriously injured".

The Palestinian health ministry reported eight youths wounded by gunfire and another hit by a rubber bullet in Ramallah.

In the blockaded Gaza Strip, where 17 Palestinians have died in clashes in recent weeks, protesters clashed with Israeli forces along the northern and eastern borders.

More than 50 Palestinians were wounded by Israeli gunfire in Gaza, and two were in a critical condition, medical sources said.

Palestinian officials on Friday urged the International Criminal Court to accelerate its probe into accusations of "Israeli war crimes", handing over a new 52-page dossier alleging summary killings and collective punishment.

A Palestinian delegation led by president Mahmud Abbas asked ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda "to expedite" a preliminary inquiry, after the dossier was handed over documenting new alleged crimes over the past 40 days, Palestinian foreign minister Riad al-Malki told reporters.

Tensions first flared in September over the status of the flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem, a site holy to both Muslims and Jews, before spiralling into a series of violent attacks from October 1.

Palestinians accuse Israel of seeking to change the rules governing the site, although Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has insisted he will not alter the status quo which forbids Jews from praying there.

The violence has left nine Israelis dead.

The deaths of the baby and the latest attackers took the number of Palestinians killed in the recent unrest to 65, including many shot during protests.