Israeli Airstrikes Kill 11 Children Enrolled In Program To Treat Past Trauma From War
Eleven children receiving treatment for past trauma caused by war have been killed by Israeli air strikes, the organisation responsible for the program have said.
The Norwegian Refugee Council says that the children, who were aged between 5 and 15, where killed in their homes over the past week as Israel ramped up its aerial bombardment of Gaza.
The group released information about each victim, with the children said to have been participating in a program aiming to provide ‘psycho-social’ treatment to young victims of war.
In a statement, NRC Secretary General Jan Egeland called on Israel to stop the violence, saying:
We are devastated to learn that 11 children we were helping with trauma were bombarded while they were at home and thought they were safe. They are now gone, killed with their families, buried with their dreams and the nightmares that haunted them.
We call on Israel to stop this madness: children must be protected. Their homes must not be targets. Schools must not be targets. Spare these children and their families. Stop bombing them now.
Many of the children died alongside family members. The NRC says that multiple strikes conducted on Sunday, May 16 killed eight children living in a single street in Gaza City, including three sisters, Rula Mohammad al-Kawlak, 5, Yara, 9, and Hala, 12 and their cousin Hana, 14.
The same strikes also killed Tala Ayman Abu al Auf, 13, and her 17-year-old brother, as well as their father Dr Ayman Abu al Auf, who was the head of international medicine at Gaza City’s largest hospital.
It’s thought that more than 60 children have died since Israel first launched air strikes against Hamas militants last week. More than 200 Palestinians have been killed, around half of whom are believed to be women and children, per the BBC. The Israeli military says that it is only attacking military targets and that civilian casualties are unintentional. Twelve Israelis, including two children, have been killed by Hamas rockets.
The NRC says that the 11 students were among 75,000 children that the organisation works with through its Better Learning Programme.
In her statement, Egeland warned that children would continue to be killed or suffer trauma unless the cycle of injustice against Palestinians was broken, saying, ‘The truth is that there can be no peace or security as long as there are systemic injustices. The siege of Gaza needs to be lifted and the occupation of Palestinians must end if we are to avoid more trauma and death among children and new cycles of destruction every few years.’
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CreditsNorwegian Refugee Council
Norwegian Refugee Council