Ramallah: Three children died of suffocation after they were locked inside an old refrigerator in Ras Karkar village near Ramallah on Wednesday evening.
The victims — Omar Mousa Abu Fakhidah, 4 ; Mohammad Shadi Abu Fakhidah, 5 and Mohammad Mahmoud Fakhidah, 6 — were found unconscious inside the refrigerator and were rushed by their relatives to the Palestine Medical Complex where they were pronounced dead.
Police said the cousins were playing near their homes and went to their grandfather’s store where the refrigerator is located. The victims apparently opened the fridge and climbed inside.
A senior police officer told Gulf News that old refrigerator models have doors that automatically locks and can only be opened from the outside.
Police said no one heard the trapped children’s cries for help.
Mohammad Abu Fakhidah, a cousin of one of the victims, told Gulf News that it was after Al Maghreb prayers when they noticed that the children were missing. They then set out to search for the children.
Abu Fakhidah said they had no idea that the children were inside the refrigerator. The victims were found after one relative checked the refrigerator.
The Ras Karkar village is located in Zone C where the Palestinian Police has no security control. Nonetheless, police officers and public prosecution officials reached the house and supervised the investigation.
Palestinian Police and the Public Prosecution are investigating the incident. It understood that the Public Prosecution will shortly order the return of the bodies of the three children to their families for burial.
A police officer stressed that this is not the first incident of its kind in the West Bank. Two brothers aged 7 and 8 also died of similar circumstances a couple of years ago in Qalqilia, north of the West Bank.
Some time earlier, two siblings, a boy and a girl, were also suffocated to death after they got trapped inside a refrigerator in the city of Hebron, south of the West Bank.