In Gaza, whatever the target, children often the victims

July 19, 2014 6:36 pm

, GAZA-CHILDGAZA CITY, July 19 – Ten-year-old Afnan Shuheiber was playing on a Gaza City rooftop with her cousins when she became one of at least 73 children killed by Israeli fire in the Gaza Strip.

The spiralling number of children killed in the latest conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas in Gaza has raised international concern.

On Saturday, a group of international and Palestinian rights groups and aid agencies urged an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, noting the high number of children killed.

“So far, more children have been killed by Israeli fire than Palestinian militants,” said a statement from the groups, including War Child and Defence for Children International.

On Saturday, the UN children’s agency, UNICEF, said children made up one third of civilian casualties in the conflict so far.

“From July 8th, until 4am on July 19, at least 73 Palestinian children have been reported killed as a result of airstrikes and shelling Israel aerial, naval and ground forces,” UNICEF’s Catherine Weibel told AFP.

She said the children included 53 boys and 20 girls under the age of 18.

“The youngest was reportedly three months old,” she said.

More than half of the children killed are under the age of 12.

Afnan, known as Fulla by her family, was among them, killed on Thursday afternoon along with her cousins, Jihad and Wissam, in Gaza City’s Sabra district.

Neighbours said the children were taking advantage of the relative lull in the violence that afternoon, going to the roof to relax after days of being cooped up at home.

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