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Gaza child whose home was bombed by Israel dies in freezing weather

Jan. 9, 2015 7:16 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 10, 2015 8:48 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian infant fell ill and died due to severe cold in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on Friday, as winter storm Huda pummeled the region for a third day.

Gaza Ministry of Health spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said that two-month-old Rafah Ali Abu Assi died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease as a result of the severely cold weather affecting the region.

Ashraf al-Qidra said that the infant was taken to the Gaza European Hospital early Thursday for treatment but was pronounced dead at noon on Friday.

The infant's family lives east of Khan Younis in an area that was heavily damaged during Israel's offensive on Gaza over summer.

Her family reportedly continued living in their damaged home despite the destruction. Due to lack of alternative shelter, many of the nearly 110,000 Palestinians left homeless by Israeli bombardment have done the same, including many living in just tents.

Temperatures in Gaza have been hovering only a few degrees above freezing in recent days as a freezing winter storm buffeted the region, flooding some areas in the small coastal enclave.

The situation is aggravated by the lack of fuel for electric power, meaning that power is available roughly eight hours a day, with occasional cuts on top of that.

The lack of fuel is a result of Israel's eight-year-old blockade of the Strip, which limits Palestinians' ability to import fuel for the electric power station in Gaza as well as for domestic needs.
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