A 14-year-old religious boy from outside Jerusalem lost his eye while playing with illegal explosives on Saturday night to celebrate Purim almost three weeks early.

He and his friends were playing with a cap gun when its ammunition exploded in his face.

Dr. Paul Cohen of the pediatric unit of Shaare Zedek Medical Center’s ophthalmology department in Jerusalem examined the boy and found that the most damage was caused to the left eye. After performing a computerized tomography scan of his head that included the eye and its socket, it was clear that there was no way to save it.

The boy underwent an operation on Monday morning to remove the eye so it would not cause harm to the remaining right eye, the doctors said.

The medical staff are always anxious about such injuries before and during Purim, as illegal caps and other explosives are widely used. It was the second case of eye injuries to be treated at the hospital in the last two weeks.

“Every year, close to Purim we see such cases, and this time it lead to the complete loss of an eye. We call on parents to prevent their children from playing with illegal explosives and thus to avoid preventable suffering,” Cohen said.

Most Purim-related injuries are from exploding devices such as caps and firecrackers.

According to Beterem – The National Center for Children’s Safety and Health, the rate of injured boys is nine times higher than that of girls, and the most common organ to be injured is the eyes.

Every package legally sold must be marked clearly with the name and address of the manufacturer and importer, safe usage instructions and age limitations. It is prohibited to sell or use toy pistols that look like the real thing. No type of explosives or powder that burns may be sold.

Beterem urged the Economy Ministry to send large numbers of inspectors to make surprise visits to shops and kiosks and confiscate illegal and dangerous Purim items.

Beterem warned to never keep caps in pockets of clothing, as they can be rubbed and explode unintentionally. It also warned to never purchase toys from a street stand without a business license.

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