GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories — A 17-year-old Gazan died on Sunday, four days after setting himself alight in desperation over financial problems, medical sources and his family said on Monday.
Ehab Abu al-Nada from Gaza City’s Shati refugee camp, set himself on fire on Wednesday outside the city’s Al-Shifa hospital, sustaining severe burns, his father Sufian told AFP.
“My son Ehab set himself on fire last Wednesday in front of Shifa hospital and died on Sunday,” he said.
“He poured two litres of petrol on himself because he was out of work.”
The spokesman for the medical services in Gaza, Ashraf al Qudreh, told AFP that “on August 28, this guy was brought into al-Shifa hospital suffering from serious burns after setting himself on fire”.
“He was admitted to the emergency room but succumbed to his wounds and died yesterday”, he added.
The teenager had left school last year to look for work so he could help the family financially but had struggled to find employment, his father said.
“He set himself on fire because of unemployment. He wanted to help me provide for this house.
“I am a civil defence employee and my salary isn’t enough, I provide for eight people and have bank loans,” said Abu al-Nada, 40.
“I earn 2,100 shekels ($525) — 700 goes on the rent, and 1,200 on paying the loans, which leaves us only 200 for the rest of the month, which isn’t enough,” he said.
“He was a street vendor selling crisps. Before that, he used to wash dishes in a restaurant for 13 hours a day earning only 30 shekels. Sometimes if there was no work he’d sit at home.
“The Hamas police were always chasing him off, to prevent him from selling on the streets,” he added, referring to the Islamist movement that controls the Gaza Strip.
Police spokesman Ayman al-Batinji said police had “opened an investigation to find out the reasons behind this incident.”