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Stray rocket killed baby of BBC Gaza reporter: UN

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

A Palestinian infant who had been widely reported as killed by Israeli fire during a major assault on Gaza in November, died in an blast likely caused by a stray Palestinian rocket, a UN report has found.

The 11-month-old boy, Omar Mashharawi, died after being hit by shrapnel just hours after the eruption of a deadly eight-day confrontation between Israel and Hamas militants on November 14.

Omar was the infant son of Gaza-based BBC video editor Jihad Mashharawi, and a photo of the anguished father holding his body wrapped in a white shroud was widely published, and quickly distributed online via social networks.

At the time, human rights groups and medics quoted by media outlets, not including AFP, blamed his death and that of two adults in the same building in Gaza City's Zeitun neighbourhood, on an Israeli air strike.

But in a report published on March 6, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said the child was likely killed by a stray Palestinian rocket.

"On 14 November, a woman, her 11-month-old infant, and an 18-year-old adult in Al-Zeitun were killed by what appeared to be a Palestinian rocket that fell short of Israel," said the report without naming the casualties.

The violence spiralled after an Israeli air strike killed a senior Hamas military commander in Gaza City, prompting a furious response from militants who pounded the Jewish state with rockets, prompting a flurry of deadly air strikes.

In the ensuing eight days of bloodshed, 177 Palestinians -- over 100 of them civilians -- and six Israelis -- two of them soldiers -- were killed, medical sources on both sides said.

hmw/gk

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130311/stray-rocket-killed-baby-bbc-gaza-reporter-un