The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) has confirmed that eleven children going through treatment to help them deal with trauma were killed by Israeli airstrikes on Gaza in recent days.
As per reports, all children between 5 and 15 years old were killed in their homes in different areas of the city while many of their relatives also either died or were injured.
“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,” said NRC’s Secretary General Jan Egeland.
“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,” she asserted.
The children NRC assisted included Lina Iyad Sharir, 15 who was targeted with both of her parents in their home on May 11 in Gaza City’s Al Manara neighbourhood. Her two-year-old sister Mina got third-degree burns and is in critical condition.
13-year-old Hala Hussein al-Rifi was killed on the night of May 12. The attack also killed four-year-old Zaid Mohammad Telbani and his five month pregnant mother Rima. Zaid’s sister is now reportedly missing.
Multiple air raids on May 16 killed six children that NRC worked with.
The same attacks also killed Rula Mohammad al-Kawlak and many other children along with their family members.
NRC works with 118 schools in the Gaza Strip approaching more than 75,000 students under its psycho-social intervention, the Better Learning Programme.
“As an urgent measure, we appeal to all parties for an immediate ceasefire so that we can reach those in need and spare more civilians,” Egeland said.
“But 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.”