A relative of an eight-month-old baby said to have died during violence on the Gaza border last month reportedly told Israeli investigators that the family was paid by Hamas to falsely tell the media that the baby died of tear gas inhalation.
Mahmoud Omar, aged 20, told investigators that his cousin Layla al-Ghandour actually died of a blood disease, an illness that claimed the baby’s brother’s life a year earlier, it has been reported.
He testified that Hamas paid his aunt Mariam and her husband Anwar 8,000 shekels (£1,660) to say their daughter died from exposure to tear gas during the border riots.
The story of baby Layla’s death made headlines around the world last month and intensified global criticism of Israel’s handling of Hamas-orchestrated violence at the fence.
On 28th May, IDF forces arrested Mahmoud Omar along with another member of Fatah’s armed wing, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, after they attempted to infiltrate into Israel and torch an unmanned IDF post.