32 Palestinian children killed in Gaza Strip in last four days

May 14, 2021
Palestinians assess the damage caused by an Israeli airstrike in the town of Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, on May 12, 2021. (Photo: AFP / Said Khatib)

Ramallah, May 14, 2021—Israeli military aerial and ground attacks killed at least 15 Palestinian children over the past two days, bringing the total number of Palestinian children killed in the Gaza Strip to 32 since hostilities escalated on Monday afternoon.

Mahmoud Hamed Hasan Tolbeh, 12, succumbed to his injuries two days after he was critically wounded by shrapnel from a missile that was fired by an Israeli warplane in southeastern Gaza City. Mahmoud was leaving the barbershop on Salah al-Din Street in Gaza City’s Shaafout neighborhood around 9:15 p.m. on Wednesday evening when he was struck in the head with shrapnel from the blast. 

Mahmoud was admitted to Shifa hospital’s intensive care unit in critical condition shortly after the May 12 attack and died from his wounds early Friday morning, according to documentation collected by Defense for Children International - Palestine. Another child, Yahya Mazen Shehada Khalifa, died instantly in the same attack, as previously reported by DCIP.

Mahmoud Hamed Hasan Tolbeh, 12, succumbed to his injuries two days after he was critically injured by shrapnel from an Israeli warplane’s missile in Gaza City on May 12, 2021. (Photo courtesy of the Tolbeh family)

An Israeli airstrike killed four Palestinian children and their parents early Thursday morning in the northern Gaza Strip. Israeli warplanes fired at least 20 missiles at a densely populated residential neighborhood on Beit Lahiya’s Main Street shortly after 1 a.m., according to documentation collected by DCIP. The Israeli attack killed Amir Rafat Mohammad Tanani, 6; Adham Rafat Mohammad Tanani, 4; Ismail Rafat Mohammad Tanani, 7; Mohammad Rafat Mohammad Tanani, 2, as well as the boys’ parents, Rafat and Rawya. The family’s bodies were discovered by search and rescue personnel around 7:30 p.m. A seventh family member remains missing. Two additional adults were killed in the aerial assault, and 33 others, including 10 children, were wounded, according to information collected by DCIP. 

An Israeli drone-fired missile killed 17-year-old Khaled Imad Khaled Qanou on May 13 around 12:40 p.m. near the Gaza perimeter fence in North Gaza’s Izbat Beit Hanoun, according to documentation collected by DCIP. An Israeli weaponized aerial drone targeted Khaled, firing at least one missile killing him on the spot near the Nada residential towers, which overlook the Gaza perimeter fence. Khaled was allegedly a member of a Palestinian armed group, according to initial information collected by DCIP. It is not clear if he was actively involved in hostilities at the time he was targeted. A number of bystanders were wounded in the attack and taken to the nearby Indonesian hospital.  

Ahmad Rami Mahmoud al-Hawajri, 13, was returning home from the grocery store around 3:20 p.m. when the Israeli fighter jet targeted a residential building in the heart of the densely populated Al-Bureij refugee camp in Central Gaza on May 13, according to documentation gathered by DCIP. Ahmad was killed in the attack. He was struck in the head with shrapnel and sustained burns all over his body.

An Israeli airstrike killed Ahmad Rami Mahmoud al-Hawajri, 13, while he was returning home from the grocery store in Al-Bureij refugee camp on May 13. (Photo courtesy of the al-Hawajri family)

A separate Israeli airstrike on a residential building in Al-Bureij refugee camp killed 13-year-old Lina Mohammad Mahmoud Issa on Thursday afternoon. An Israeli warplane attacked the home of Mohammad Issa, 42, around 4:45 p.m. Lina was killed along with her mother, Manar, and their home was completely destroyed. Three other civilians were also wounded and transferred to Al-Aqsa Martyrs hospital, according to documentation collected by DCIP.

Israeli forces killed 17-year-old Fawziya Nasser Mohammad Abu Faris and her nine-month-old nephew, Mohammad Salameh Mohammad Abu Dayyeh, in Umm An-Naser village, also known as Al-Qaraya Al-Badawiya, in the northern Gaza Strip late on May 13. Around 6:15 p.m., three Israeli-fired artillery shells struck the Nasser Abu Faris' one-story house, killing Fawziya and Mohammad, as well as Fawziya’s adult sisters, Nisreen and Sabreen.

The family had gathered to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, the holiday marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, and around 25 people were in the living room when the Israeli artillery attack occurred. Fawziya and her sisters were dismembered, and shrapnel struck Mohammad in the head. All four were killed on the spot. A number of family members were also wounded in the incident, including six-year-old Hamzi and five-year-old Malak who were moderately injured.

The family and other residents of Umm Al-Naser took refuge after the attack in a UNRWA school in Mashrou' Beit Lahiya due to the ongoing heavy Israeli artillery shelling.

Israeli missiles killed two children in two separate attacks on the evening of May 13 in the southern Gaza Strip. Around 7:45 p.m., an Israeli warplane attacked Jamal al-Zamli’s two-story home in the Tanour neighborhood of Rafah, killing two-year-old Hoor Momen Jamal al-Zamli and her mother Khuloud, who was five months pregnant, according to information gathered by DCIP. There was no warning prior to the blast which destroyed the home and injured seven others, including three children. The wounded were transported to Abu Yousef Al-Najjar hospital for treatment.

In another attack late on May 13, an Israeli airstrike killed six-month-old Ibrahim Mohammad Ibrahim al-Rantisi. An Israeli warplane fired a missile at a three-story home in the Jnaineh neighborhood of Rafah shortly before 8:30 p.m., according to documentation collected by DCIP. The attack also killed Ibrahim’s grandmother, uncle, and aunt and injured 15 others, including 7 children.

Israeli aerial attacks killed three children early on May 14 in North Gaza. Shortly after midnight, Israeli warplanes launched a barrage of attacks, striking multiple areas in northern Gaza. Two missiles hit Mahmoud al-Attar’s home in Beit Lahia, killing six-year-old Amira Mohammad Mahmoud al-Attar and her two brothers, eight-year-old Islam Mohammad Mahmoud al-Attar and nine-month-old Mohammad Zain Mohammad Mahmoud al-Attar as well as their mother, Lamia, according to documentation collected by DCIP. The family was on the ground floor of the home when a concrete pillar fell on them. Their bodies were removed from under the rubble two hours later and taken to Kamal Odwan hospital.

DCIP has documented 17 other Palestinian children killed in the Gaza Strip since violence escalated Monday afternoon. Nine Palestinian children were killed late Monday afternoon in three separate incidents in the northern Gaza Strip. Israeli missiles killed at least three Palestinian children on Tuesday afternoon and early Wednesday morning as Israel carried out hundreds of airstrikes in densely-populated civilian areas across the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces shot and killed 17-year-old Bashar Ahmad Ibrahim Samour Wednesday morning near the Gaza perimeter fence in Abasan Al-Jadida, east of Khan Younis in southern Gaza.

DCIP continues to investigate other incidents to determine if children were victims and to provide more details on these incidents.  

As Israeli forces intensified their bombardment of the Gaza Strip overnight on Thursday, some 10,000 Palestinians fled their homes due to the ongoing hostilities and are sheltering in schools, mosques and other places, according to a statement released today by the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip have limited access to water, food, hygiene, and health services, and fuel for the electricity plant is expected to run out on Sunday.

The latest escalation in hostilities between Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups follow weeks of mounting tension as Israeli settlers, with Israeli government support, seek to expel hundreds of Palestinians from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah, a neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem. Palestinian-led protests against these planned expulsions have been met with state-sanctioned violence as Israeli police and paramilitary border police use excessive force against Palestinian protesters. 

International humanitarian law prohibits indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks and requires all parties to an armed conflict to distinguish between military targets, civilians, and civilian objects. Israel as the occupying power in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including the Gaza Strip, is required to protect the Palestinian civilian population from violence.

Israeli authorities have imposed a closure policy against the Gaza Strip since 2007 by strictly controlling and limiting the entry and exit of individuals; maintaining harsh restrictions on imports including food, construction materials, fuel, and other essential items; as well as prohibiting exports. Israel continues to maintain complete control over the Gaza Strip’s borders, airspace, and territorial waters.

*Correction: This article was updated on June 11, 2021, to correct the name of two-year-old Mohammad Rafat Mohammad Tanini. DCIP had previously reported the child's name as Ahmad Rafat Mohammad Tanini.

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