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Gaza parents mourn children killed by Israel

(Photo: AFP)

GAZA, Palestinian Territories — Palestinian mother Rasha Qadoom clutches tight the tiny pink rucksack belonging to her five-year-old daughter Alaa — which will never again be carried on her little back.اضافة اعلان

Alaa was the first of 16 children killed by three days of intense Israeli assault on the densely populated Palestinian enclave of Gaza.

“It was a Friday like any other,” said Qadoom, 27, remembering how Alaa had been dressed in a pink T-shirt to match her pink bag with a pink ribbon tied in her hair.

“She was happy, she wanted to go to the park with her aunt.”

But as she went to her aunt on Friday afternoon, Israel launched an intense “pre-emptive” bombardment of the Gaza Strip.

Alaa was knocking on the door of her aunt’s home when a missile smashed down from the sky.

‘Clothes full of blood’

In her hands, Qadoom holds the blood-stained rags of Alaa’s T-shirt, unable to comprehend why her daughter died.

“Nobody was armed in the neighborhood. Instead of going to play in the park, she came back to me with clothes full of blood,” she said.

“What was the point of this war?” she asked. “We lost children ... all her dreams were in a school bag and a notebook.”

The Gaza health ministry said 46 people were killed, including 16 children.

Elsewhere in Gaza City, a few blocks back from the Mediterranean Sea in a neighborhood with houses crammed tight together, the home of the Shamalagh family was blown up.

Only a gaping hole remains.

Poking out of the slabs of smashed concrete are the remains of people’s lives; a new fridge, a sofa crushed by tons of concrete, a stuffed toy animal.

Dozens of paper scraps from what was an English textbook lie in the dirt.

The shattered building was once home to 17 people, including children.

The conflict was the worst violence in Gaza since Israel launched an 11-day war on Gaza in May 2021, when 66 children died in Gaza.

In June, Save the Children had already warned in a report of the impact on the young Israel’s blockage on the strip in 2007.

“During this time, their childhoods have been marred by five escalations in violence and a decade and a half of blockade,” the aid agency said.

“They have repeatedly experienced or witnessed traumatic events and serious violations of their rights.”

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