‘A curse to be a parent in Gaza’: More than 3,600 Palestinian children killed in just 3 weeks of war

by Ryan Lee
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Gaza children casualties

Enduring Tragedy: Over 3,600 Palestinian Children Lost in Mere Weeks of Conflict

During the initial 25 days of hostilities between Israel and Hamas, over 3,600 Palestinian children lost their lives, as per statistics from the Hamas-controlled Health Ministry in Gaza. These young lives were extinguished by airstrikes, errant rockets, devastating explosions, and collapsing structures. Tragically, among these were infants, passionate young readers, budding journalists, and children who mistakenly believed they would be safe inside a church.

Given that nearly half of Gaza’s 2.3 million residents are below 18 years of age, it’s sobering to realize that children represent 40% of the total casualties of this conflict. A recent analysis by Big Big News, referencing data from the Gaza Health Ministry, indicated that by October 26th, 2,001 of those killed were 12 years old or younger. A harrowing 615 of them were just 3 years old or younger.

Describing the heart-wrenching scenario, writer Adam al-Madhoun, while at the Al Aqsa Martyrs Hospital comforting his 4-year-old daughter Kenzi—who narrowly survived an airstrike that severely injured her—stated, “When houses are obliterated, they crash down upon the children.”

Israel defends its actions by stating that its airstrikes are aimed solely at Hamas’ militant sites and infrastructure, accusing Hamas of using civilians as shields. Moreover, they assert that over 500 rockets, intended for Israel, malfunctioned and landed within Gaza, leading to an indeterminate number of Palestinian casualties.

The grim reality is that in just over three weeks, the number of children lost in Gaza surpasses the cumulative child casualties in all global conflict zones over the past three years. This data, as reported by the international charity Save the Children, states that last year, 2,985 children lost their lives across two dozen active war zones.

“Gaza has tragically become a place where thousands of children meet their end,” stated James Elder, spokesperson for UNICEF.

The world has been repeatedly exposed to heart-wrenching images of traumatized children being retrieved from the ruins or agonizing on hospital beds. A few haunting visuals include a lifeless toddler being held by a rescuer, a father inconsolably crying while holding his deceased child, and a blood-covered boy wandering dazedly amidst destruction.

Ahmed Modawikh, a 40-year-old Gaza City resident, poignantly stated, “Being a parent in Gaza feels like a curse,” after the tragic loss of his 8-year-old daughter during five days of conflict in May.

While the devastation has been immense in Gaza, Israeli children have not been spared either. Over 1,400 individuals were killed by Hamas during an offensive on southern Israel on October 7th. Among the victims were infants and young children, as stated by Israeli officials, although exact numbers have yet to be provided. Additionally, around 30 children were reportedly among the roughly 240 individuals taken hostage by Hamas.

As conflict rages on, Palestinian children are left with little choice but to seek shelter wherever they can, be it in family homes or U.N.-run facilities. Despite advisories from Israel urging residents of northern Gaza to move south, the reality is that no location has proven entirely safe from the ongoing airstrikes.

Yasmine Jouda, who tragically lost 68 family members in an airstrike on October 22nd, lamented the dire situation, saying, “People escape death only to encounter it elsewhere.”

The current conflict has wrought unspeakable devastation on the region, with the total death toll in Gaza exceeding 8,800, based on figures from the Gaza Health Ministry. Israel attributes this high casualty count to Hamas, accusing them of operating from densely populated civilian areas. In contrast, Palestinians see the escalating death toll as evidence of indiscriminate and disproportionate Israeli attacks.

The consequences of the conflict are profound and lasting. Over 7,000 Palestinian children have been injured, with many facing life-altering medical conditions.

Children growing up in Gaza, especially 15-year-olds, have witnessed five major conflicts between Israel and Hamas since Hamas took control in 2007. Their entire lives have been overshadowed by the stringent blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt. This has led to a staggering 70% youth unemployment rate in the region, as reported by the World Bank.

Ayed Abu Eqtaish, the accountability program director for Defense for Children International in the Palestinian territories, highlighted the grim prospects for these children, stating, “They lack opportunities for career growth, better living standards, healthcare, and education.” He further emphasized that the current conflict has reduced the fight to a mere struggle for survival.

Tragedy is omnipresent in Gaza, and the stories of lost young lives are countless.

Profiles of Some Children Lost in the Conflict:

  • ASEEL HASSAN, 13: Known for her love of classical Arabic poetry, Aseel was a promising student. She sought solace in poetry, especially during terrifying bombardments. Tragically, an airstrike on October 19th destroyed her family home, claiming both her and her brother Anas’s lives.

  • MAJD SOURI, 7: Majd, a young Christian boy, sought refuge in St. Porphyrius Greek Orthodox Church along with his family. However, on October 20th, the monastery was hit, leading to the death of Majd and two of his siblings. Israel stated that they were targeting a Hamas command center nearby.

  • KENAN AND NEMAN AL-SHARIF, 18 months: In central Gaza, these twin toddlers tragically lost their lives. Their family had sought refuge in a six-story building, which was later decimated.

  • MAHMOUD DAHDOUH, 16: Mahmoud aspired to be a journalist. His father, Wael Dahdouh, discovered his death through a tragic incident captured live by Al Jazeera. Mahmoud was actively working on his journalism skills, even documenting the devastation around him shortly before his demise.

This report is sourced from Jerusalem by DeBre. For more comprehensive coverage, visit Big Big News.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Gaza children casualties

How many Palestinian children were killed in the first 25 days of the war between Israel and Hamas?

More than 3,600 Palestinian children were killed in the first 25 days of the war, according to Gaza’s Hamas-run Health Ministry.

What percentage of the Gaza Strip’s population is under the age of 18?

Nearly half of the crowded strip’s 2.3 million inhabitants are under 18.

How does Israel justify its airstrikes in Gaza?

Israel states that its airstrikes target Hamas militant sites and infrastructure, accusing the group of using civilians as human shields.

What is the total death toll in Gaza, as of the data provided?

The death toll in Gaza has surpassed 8,800, as per the records of Gaza’s Health Ministry.

How does the number of children killed in Gaza in three weeks compare to worldwide child casualties in previous years?

More children have been killed in just over three weeks in Gaza than in all of the world’s conflicts combined in each of the past three years.

What are the repercussions for children who survive the airstrikes?

Many children are left with lifechanging injuries, while others, even if physically unharmed, may be mentally scarred by the traumas of war.

For how long have the 15-year-olds in Gaza experienced the Israel-Hamas war?

For 15-year-olds in Gaza, it’s their fifth Israel-Hamas war since Hamas took control of the enclave in 2007.

Who are some of the Palestinian children who have been killed in the war?

The text mentions several children, including Aseel Hassan, 13; Majd Souri, 7; Kenan and Neman Al-Sharif, 18 months; and Mahmoud Dahdouh, 16, among others.

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