Prosecutors: Hamas Head Paid Family to Defame IDF Over Infant’s Death

YERUSHALAYIM -
gaza protests
Palestinian rioters run from tear gas fired by Israeli troops, at the Israel-Gaza border. (Reuters/Mohammed Salem)

Southern District prosecutors on Thursday filed an indictment in a Be’er Sheva court against Mahmoud Omer, a 20-year-old resident of Gaza, who was arrested in recent weeks for attempting to breach the Gaza border fence during one of the recent Friday riots sponsored by Hamas. Among the charges against him is conspiracy to defame IDF soldiers; according to the indictment, top Hamas terrorist Yahya Sinwar, who heads the terror group in Gaza, personally paid Omer NIS 8,000 to get a family member to claim that her eight-month-old infant died from tear gas grenades thrown by IDF soldiers – and not as the result of a blood disease.

The story of Leila Randor, the eight-month-old whose parents claimed was killed from inhalation of tear gas, raised the ire of critics of Israel, who accused the IDF of “targeting babies” as it fought back Gaza residents who were trying to breach the Gaza border fence. The incident occurred in mid-May, when some 50,000 Gaza Arabs massed on the border fence as the United States inaugurated its new embassy in Yerushalayim. Some 60 Gaza Arabs were killed in the riots, and baby Randor was among them.

However, when interviewed by AP, Gaza doctors held off on blaming Israel for the death of the infant – and several weeks after the incident, she was removed from the Hamas list of “martyrs” who had been killed by Israeli fire. Doctors now attribute her death to a degenerative blood disease that she was suffering from. When asked by reporters why she had originally appeared on the list of those killed in the riots, doctors said that the family claimed she had been killed in the riots, after a tear gas grenade exploded next to her.

Sinwar’s payment, along with membership in a terror group, rioting, illegal possession of firearms and other charges appear in the indictment against him. Omer has admitted guilt on several of the charges, including the Sinwar payoff.

Omer was arrested after he attempted to break through the Gaza fence several weeks ago, along with two other terrorists. IDF soldiers caught them before they were able to do so, and they were detained. With them was equipment for the operation, including wire cutters and a video camera, which Omer was to use to record their “victory” of breaking through the fence, prosecutors said.