The Israeli military rejected any link between its use of tear gas during West Bank clashes and the death of an 8-month-old boy, Ramadan Mohammad Faisal Thawabta, after the Palestinian Health Ministry said he died of asphyxiation.
"Following both medical and operational investigations it was concluded that there is no correlation of IDF activity in the village and the tragic death of the infant. Tear gas was used dozens of meters away from the Thawabteh residence, and no riot dispersal means were directed at the residence," a military spokesman said on Saturday.
On Friday, the Palestinian ministry said Ramadan Thawabteh was killed in his Bethlehem home by tear gas fired by Israeli soldiers during clashes with Palestinian stone throwers. Abu Anan, a medic with Red Crescent, said that Israeli forces had fired teargas into the house during clashes between Palestinians and Israeli soldiers. "We went to the family house and we tried to save his life, but we failed. He was dead," Anan said.
According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, 58 Palestinians were killed in October; eight Israelis were killed in attacks in the same period. In the flashpoint West Bank city of Hebron, Palestinians buried five teenagers killed in a wave of attacks and clashes with Israeli forces. Thousands of Palestinian mourners attended the funerals of the teenagers, two of whom were girls, in the southern West Bank city of Hebron. They waved Palestinian flags and chanted, "We will die but Palestine will live on." The violence has spread to the West Bank, with daily protests and attacks now occurring in the Gaza Strip.
Amnesty International has urged Israeli officials to protect Palestinians in Hebron "from attacks by Israeli settlers."
A month of intense violence in occupied East Jerusalem, the West Bank and within Israel has recently escalated in Hebron where residents say there have been almost daily clashes with soldiers and Israeli settlers. The tension initially started over Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque, where Israel restricted access to Muslims on Sept. 13, sparking protests from Palestinians who believe Israel wants to seize control of the compound to allow Jewish prayers on the site, despite a current ban on non-Muslim worship. Earlier in October, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu banned all Israelis lawmakers from entering the site because the visits of Israeli ministers had been considered provocative. The ban, however, angered some Palestinian lawmakers who were also excluded.