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A 7-month-old baby girl from Ramat Yishai died yesterday after her father left her in a sweltering car for 90 minutes.

The father had come to a motorbike repair shop in Kibbutz Sha'ar Ha'amakim, in the Jezreel Valley, to discuss repairs to his quad bike, and left his daughter in the locked car, where the temperature reached an estimated 70 degrees Celsius. He went to check on her only when the child's mother called him 90 minutes later.

According to garage owner Gil Meyerson, the father took the baby out of the car, and Meyerson and another man placed her on a table in the office and tried to resuscitate her. A doctor from the kibbutz nursing home later arrived to help.

The stunned father called his wife, who came with the baby's grandfather. The mother kept repeating: "She will live! I know she will live."

An intensive care paramedic at the scene said the infant was not breathing, had no pulse, and was suffering from third-degree burns to her thigh and abdomen. She was pronounced dead en route to Rambam Medical Center in Haifa.

The parents arrived at the hospital devastated and required the help of psychologists and social workers.

Meyerson said he had spoken with the 39-year-old father for more than an hour in the office.

"It was a tough scene. You see a man holding a lifeless baby girl with blue marks and shouting 'Get an ambulance! Where's MDA?'"

Dozens of horrified kibbutz residents gathered during the rescue efforts. Zvulun Regional Council head Shlomo Hever, who came to the scene, said: "I cannot blame anyone right now but I don't understand how you leave a baby in a locked car in such heat. This is an awful tragedy. I send my condolences to the parents."

Police opened an investigation into suspicions of negligence in the baby's death. Investigators used a thermometer to measure the temperature inside the car, and within seconds it reached the top of the scale. They estimated that while the car was closed, the temperature could have been as high as 70 degrees.

"This is a tragedy. Parents need to realize that you do not leave children unattended," said Zvulun regional police chief Jamal Hakrush. He added that the father will be questioned but that in view of the tragedy, he probably will not be charged. The baby's body will be sent for an autopsy to determine the cause of death.