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Toddler reportedly dies after inhaling tear gas

May 10, 2010 8:25 P.M. (Updated: May 11, 2010 6:32 P.M.)
Hebron – Ma'an – A child from the Hebron village of Beit Ummar reportedly died on Sunday evening after inhaling tear gas deployed by Israeli forces during a Friday rally, locals said.

Father of one-and-a-half year old Hamza Samar Mehanna Maria said Israeli forces deployed tear-gas canisters near their home, and the child was transferred to hospital for treatment but died of respiratory complications relating to the incident on Sunday.

Israeli forces reportedly deployed riot dispersal means, which typically include tear gas and rubber bullets, following confrontations at the Karmi Tsur settlement north of Hebron.

Hamza's father said his son was unwell, suffering from dehydration and a cold on the day that clashes erupted near the family home. He said that when forces fired tear-gas canisters at Palestinians involved in the clash, one landed outside the window of the child's room.

Upon arrival at a local clinic for treatment, doctors administered re-hydrating salts and treatment for tear-gas inhalation, the father said, but Hamza's condition deteriorated overnight. His parents brought him back to the Al-Ahli Hospital at 3am on Sunday, where he was pronounced dead shortly after.

Doctors said they could not immediately determine the cause of death, with the hospital's pathologist saying he was unable to administer a number of postmortem exams because the child was buried shortly after.

Local police said Israeli forces had approached them, seeking information on any injuries sustained during Friday's clashes but said they were unaware of the child's condition at the time.

Representatives from both Israel's army and the Civil Administration said they would look into the report.

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