Tear-gassed baby among 58 Palestinians dead in Gaza protests after Israel forces open fire on civilians over US embassy move

Eight-month-old Leila al-Ghandour was killed after being exposed to the toxic gas east of Gaza city yesterday, officials confirmed today.

It is not known how close to the troubled border with Israel the child and her family were when Leila died, reports NDTV.

Israeli forces clashed with protesters yesterday as the US opened its embassy in Jerusalem – a city which Palestinians also claim as their capital.

Six children were reportedly among the dead – the highest death toll in Gaza since the 2014 war with Israel – and 2,400 people were injured.

Hospitals are said to be at breaking point and quickly running out of supplies.

Journalist Maram Humaid said: "The hospital smells like blood, there is blood everywhere.

"The wounded are lying on the floor – there are no more beds to accomodate them.

"Ambulances have not stopped arriving."

President Donald Trump gave a speech over video-link from the US as the building was moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem with daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner in attendance at the opening.

What we know so far

  • The US today officially moved its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem
  • The move was controversial as both the Israelis and Palestinians claim Jerusalem as their capital
  • Demonstrators burned tyres and threw stones and Israel troops responded with tear gas and live rounds
  • At least 55 Palestinians, including six children, have been killed and 2,400 more wounded
  • Around 40,000 Palestinians were protesting along the barbed wire fence separating Israel and Gaza
  • Israeli troops opened fire on protesters, claiming they were stopping crowds from bursting through
  • No casualties have been reported on the Israeli side
  • Turkish President Erdogan accused Israel of genocide and recalled its ambassadors from there and the US
  • The US blamed Hamas for the deaths, accusing the military group of 'gruesome propaganda'

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked Trump for “having the courage to keep your promises”.

But 35,000 Palestinians stormed to 12 border locations with Israel, creating clouds of black smoke by burning blazing tyres.

Some tried to break through the border fences as others hurled stones while Israeli soldiers dropped tear gas canisters from drones and fired intense rounds of gunfire.


Trump’s recognition of contested Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December outraged Palestinians.

But yesterday he declared it a “great day” for Israel and said he was  “fully committed” to  peace. He received a standing ovation.

Instead of urging the Israelis to show restraint as Britain and France did, America pointed the finger at the Palestinian extremists and their "gruesome propaganda".

"The responsibility for these tragic deaths rests squarely with Hamas," said White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah. "Israel has a right to defend itself.

"Hamas is intentionally and cynically provoking this response. This is a gruesome and unfortunate propaganda attempt.

"I think the Israeli government has spent weeks trying to handle this without violence."

Loudspeakers on Gaza mosques urged Palestinians to join protests before the US embassy move.

The controversial move to Jerusalem fulfilled a Trump campaign promise but infuriated Palestinians and drew criticism that Washington had destroyed its own peace efforts.

But as many as 40,000 Palestinians amassed at 13 different locations along the barbed wire fence separating Gaza from Israel to protest the move.

The Israel Defense Forces claimed they opened fire to stop the crowds from bursting through, the Telegraph reported.

Demonstrators clashed with border guards on what was also the 70th anniversary of Israel’s founding, as warplanes struck what Israel called a Hamas post in northern Gaza.

Black smoke from burning tyres rose into the air at the border, as activists tried to use the cloud as cover from snipers.

Masked protesters hurled stones towards the border fences as Israeli troops fired volleys of tear gas and live bullets back into the crowds.

Demonstrators also used kites to drop Molotov cocktails on Israeli forces – who in turn used drones to hit protesters with tear gas.

Gaza science teacher Ali, who declined to give his last name, today said: "Today is the big day when we will cross the fence and tell Israel and the world we will not accept being occupied forever.

"Many may get martyred today, so many. But the world will hear our message – occupation must end."

The border area has seen daily protests against a decade-old blockade of the territory for the last two weeks.

But yesterday's demonstration – on the day of the embassy move – is by far the biggest yet.

Monday's deaths bring the total of Palestinians killed during the protests over the last two weeks to 97.

No Israeli casualties have been reported.

The killings have drawn international criticism but the US has echoed Israel in accusing Gaza's ruling Hamas movement of instigating violence.

In a statement, the Israeli army said troops had shot and killed three Palestinians who attempted to plant a bomb along the fence.

It also said an aircraft had targeted a Hamas post in northern Gaza after Israeli troops came under fire.

Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, an Israeli military spokesman, said the army had set up additional "layers" of security in and around communities near the border to defend Israeli civilians.

He said there already had been several "significant attempts" to break through the fence.

Cornicus said: "Even if the fence is breached, we will be able to protect Israeli civilians from attempts to massacre or kidnap or kill them."


Israeli leaders and a US delegation including President Trump's daughter and son-in-law, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, are today attending the opening of the new embassy.

When Trump announced the move in December, it was seen by many has a setback to the peace process.

It sparked widespread protests across the Muslim world and fears of more unrest in the Middle East, with Arab leaders blasting the decision.


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