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AUGUST 1 UPDATE: Child death toll in Gaza approaches 200 and rising
Ramallah, August 1, 2014—DCI-Palestine confirmed a further 12 child deaths today, as the international community attempted again to broker a ceasefire deal between Israel and Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip. An agreement for a 72-hour ceasefire collapsed within a matter of hours, leading to renewed fighting and further civilian deaths.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
• 166 children confirmed dead
• Salvaging belongings
• UN shelters under attack
• July 30 update
• What's not a target for Israel?
Nearly two weeks after a particularly violent day of the conflict, Sunday, July 20, DCI-Palestine sources were still confirming deaths. Four children from one family died when Israeli forces shelled their relative’s house in the Shuja’iyya neighborhood of Gaza City early in the morning. The families sheltering there received no prior warning, and 11 members, including Karam and Karim Ahmad Hamed al-Helou, 6-month-old baby twins, and their siblings Maram, 2, and Najia, 4, died. The ongoing violence in the area left their bodies undiscovered for six days.
DCI-Palestine confirmed an additional death on July 23. Rabea Qasem Rabea Abu Ras, 9, accompanied his mother to salvage some belongings from their home in the Bedouin village in northern Gaza. Once there, an Israeli artillery shell landed nearby and injured him in the back. Rabea rushed to a close hospital, but a drone missile killed him instantly at the entrance.
Five deaths were confirmed from July 24. In Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza, Mohammad Jihad Salim Matar, 12, Amaneh Jihad Salim Matar, 10, and Duaa Raed Yousef Abu Odeh, 17, left Jabalia refugee camp with their uncle to salvage items from their home. While there, an Israeli drone missile struck their house and killed them immediately. In Rafah in southern Gaza, a drone missile killed Mohammad Ahmad Harbi Siam, 6, and Amir Adel Khamis Siam, 12, as they stood outside their home.
Mohammad Abdul-Nasser Mohammad al-Ghandour, 15, and Ibrahim Moatasem Ibrahim Kloub, 4, died in separate incidents on July 29. When an Israeli missile struck agricultural land in the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahia, shrapnel from the explosion punctured Mohammad’s neck and killed him instantly. In Deir al-Balah in central Gaza, Ibrahim died when a drone missile directly hit his family’s balcony as he played there. His mother sustained serious injuries and remains in critical condition.
These civilian casualties occurred as UN shelters, protected by international law, wound up as targets for the Israeli military. In the latest attack, an UNRWA school in Jabalia, sheltering 3,300 internally displaced persons, came under Israeli artillery fire on July 30, which led to multiple civilian deaths, including children. DCI-Palestine is still verifying the names and ages of those killed in the incident.
Ramallah, July 30, 2014—A further 19 deaths were confirmed by DCI-Palestine Wednesday, with an estimated 270,000 children in need of immediate psycho-social support. This is the third large scale Israeli assault for the majority of children in Gaza, who likely have lasting trauma.
The total number of confirmed child deaths now stands at 154, with an additional 67 cases under investigation.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
• Lasting trauma
• Attack on UNRWA school
• Al-Shati refugee camp
• July 28 update
• What's not a target for Israel?
After one week in critical condition, Yousef Jameel Subhi Hammouda, 15, succumbed on Saturday to injuries sustained from a drone strike in Beit Lahia in northern Gaza on July 19. As previously reported, the Israeli missile also killed his brother, Omar, 10, cousin, Mohammad, 18, and neighbor, Raed Nayfeh, 40, instantly.
Six children, including three from one family, died in the widely condemned Israeli attack on an UNRWA school in Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza on July 24. Immediately preceding the shelling, the Red Cross instructed those taking shelter to prepare to relocate due to the safety concerns. Abed Rabo Jamal Ayyoub al-Shanbari, 17, Mohammad Akram Abdulaziz al-Kafarneh, 15, and Suha Abed Rabo Mohammad Mesleh, 2, were waiting for evacuation buses in the schoolyard when they were killed by Israeli artillery shells. Abed Rabo Sheiboub Ahmad al-Shanbari, 16, died alongside his siblings, Miriam, 12, and Ali, 9, in a classroom.
DCI-Palestine confirmed an additional death on July 24. The impact of an Israeli F16 missile killed Adham Ahmad Ibrahim Abu ‘Eitah, 5, though its intended target was Adham’s neighbor.
Two explosions in Al-Shati refugee camp west of Gaza City Monday afternoon killed 11 people, including 10 children. Ahmad Hazem Mohammad Shbair, 8, Mahmoud Riad Hazem Mohammad Shbair, 11, Bara’ Akram Mohammad Miqdad, 6, Mohammad Nahed Mohammad Miqdad, 14, Yousef Abdulrahman Hassouna, 11, Mohammad Mahmoud Mohammad Abu Shaqfa, a child of unknown age, Mansour Rami Mansour Hajjaj, 9, Jamal Saleh Jamal Alyan, 8, Ahmad Jaber Ibrahim Washah, 12, and Mohammad Imad Mohammad Baroud, 12, died together while playing in Swaidi street and celebrating Eid al-Fitr holiday. DCI-Palestine is still investigating the source of the explosion.
Despite increased international pressure, reaching a ceasefire agreement has proved difficult. Hamas demands an end to the eight-year-long Israeli imposed siege, which is considered illegal under international law, while Israel considers ending the siege a non-option, citing security concerns.
Rifat Kassis, executive director of DCI-Palestine, tells CNN’s Hala Gorani that for many children the trauma is worse than the war.
Ramallah, July 28, 2014—The child death toll in Gaza approached 200 this week in ongoing Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip, despite intensified efforts from the US and the UN to reach a ceasefire. The deaths come as each side unilaterally announced a series of humanitarian ceasefires over the weekend, all of which have been punctuated by intermittent violence.
“Israel is an occupying power that is attacking and destroying an occupied Palestinian civilian population, said Rifat Kassis, executive director of DCI-Palestine. “These civilian deaths are not collateral damage: they are war crimes.”
TABLE OF CONTENTS
• Child death toll at 200
• Knocked off the balcony
• No safe place
• Immediate end to fire
• July 24 update
Ceasefires in recent days have facilitated the recovery of many more bodies, as aid workers gained access to areas that had seen intense shelling. Thirteen deaths confirmed by DCI-Palestine brought the total number of children killed to 136, with a further 64 cases under investigation.
A further two deaths from the bloodiest day of the conflict, Sunday, July 20, were confirmed. Mohammad Ayman Salah al-Sha’er, 5, from the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis, was killed when his home was targeted in an Israeli airstrike. He died along with his 8-year-old cousin Heba, who was also at home at the time of the strike.
On July 21, a drone missile landed close to the home of the al-Yazaji family in Gaza City, creating a blast that knocked 4-year-old Yasmin Nayef Hatem al-Yazaji and her 2-year-old brother, Hatem Zein, off their balcony on the fourth floor, killing them both. Their grandparents also died, while their brother Anas, 4, and 16-year-old uncle, Wasim, sustained shrapnel wounds. They had all been praying together.
DCI-Palestine confirmed two more deaths from July 22, when two sisters died in the central Gaza town of Wadi as-Salqa. The al-Remahi family had fled their home and were sheltering with friends when the front yard of the house was targeted, killing both Iman Ibrahim Ayesh Al-Remahi, 16, and Ibtihal Ibrahim Ayesh Al-Remahi, 4, instantly. Their older brother, Yousef, also died in the attack. Several other family members sustained injuries, including an 8-month-old baby.
Three deaths were confirmed from July 23, two taking place in Khan Younis, where Mohammad Akram Ahmad Abu Shaqra, 16, and his cousin Abdul-Rahman Ibrahim Ahmad Abu Shaqra,17, were killed when two drone missiles hit them as they traveled home in a taxi. In central Gaza’s Bureij refugee camp, Rawan Ayman Soud Swaidan, 9, died as she prepared to return home with her family, which they had previously evacuated. As the family of 10 got into the car, the area was targeted by a drone missile, killing Rawan and injuring six of her family members.
On July 24, 3-year-old Ibrahim Yasser Mohammad Sheikh Omar, from Gaza City, was killed as he lay in Mohammad Dura Hospital, where he was recovering from septicemia. The intensive care unit, where he had been placed, was destroyed in an Israeli airstrike, and Ibrahim died instantly.
Three deaths were confirmed on July 25, at Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza. Nour Mohammad Salameh Abu Dabagh, 12, Mohammad Anwar Suleiman Darazin, 3, and Abdul-Karim Anwar Suleiman Darazin, 4, all died when a drone missile landed in front of the family home, scattering shrapnel that fatally wounded all three children.
The high number of deaths resulting from the Israeli ground invasion, now in its third week, has led to increasingly strident calls from the international community to end the violence. Temporary pauses in attacks, however, have failed, with each side accusing the other of breaking ceasefire agreements. As Eid al-Fitr, the holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, began, hopes remained that a ceasefire would be reached, with the UN releasing a strongly-worded statement on the urgency of achieving an immediate end to fire from both sides.
The US, too, has been placing pressure on the Israeli government to end its operation, with the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, attempting to forge a ceasefire agreement between the two parties over the weekend.
“Beyond demanding an immediate ceasefire, the international community must also demand an end to Israel’s blockade of Gaza and challenge systemic impunity by investigating the actions of the Israeli government,” said Kassis.
Despite the pressure, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has suggested over the past week that the ground invasion will expand still further. Disagreements over conditions for an end to the conflict between Hamas and the Israelis have so far rendered a ceasefire impossible.
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