September 4 Update: Indefinite truce brings relief and hope to exhausted Gaza population

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Ramallah, September 4, 2014—A new ceasefire brought relief and hope to the exhausted population of Gaza on August 26, as Egypt brokered an indefinite truce between the Israeli government and Palestinian factions.

The UN said a total of 495 children have been killed since the start of Israel’s military offensive on Gaza. Confirmation of an additional 49 children killed brought the total number of child deaths independently verified by DCI-Palestine to 349.

On July 14, one child was killed when an Israeli drone launched a missile at him as he was riding home on his motorbike in Khan Younis in southern Gaza. Ziad Maher Mohammad Al-Najjar, 16, who lost his older brother in July and his father in Operation Cast Lead in 2008, died instantly.

Seven children died on July 20 as a result of intense violence in the Shuja’iyya neighborhood of Gaza City. Saad and Anas al-Sakafi, 17-year-old twins, died when their family’s home was targeted in an airstrike. The missile struck the three-story house, killing the twins and at least five other family members. Three more children died as they fled their home amid heavy shelling in the area. The Isslim family was 500 meters (1640 feet) from their house when shells killed Shadi, 15, Ola, 11, and Fadi, 9. Ambulances were not admitted to the area by Israeli forces until 90 minutes after the incident. A further two deaths took place amid the shelling. The Al-Shaikh Khalil family was sheltering in the staircase of their apartment block when the building sustained direct hits from artillery fire. Hiba, 13, and Samia, 2, died in the attack, while two other children sustained serious injuries.

July 22 saw another two deaths confirmed. Nour Abu Huaishel, 6, and Obaida Abu Huaishel, 9, were killed when Israeli drones targeted the family home in Nuseirat refugee camp, near Deir al-Balah, central Gaza. Nour died from shrapnel injuries when a missile landed close to where he was standing in the street next to his house. Obaida died three hours later in another drone attack on the house.

On July 23, four child deaths were reported. In Deir al-Balah, two-year-old Jina al-Mukata’ died when an Israeli airstrike targeted her family’s home, flattening it completely. Jina sustained a head injury and was transferred to Al-Aqsa Hospital, where she died. In Khan Younis, two children, Mohammad al-Bashiti, 7, died when an Israeli aircraft targeted his house as his family slept. His one-year-old brother, Ali, sustained critical injuries and died four days later in hospital. Also in Khan Younis, 4-year-old Zainab Abu Tair died when an Israeli drone launched a missile at her grandfather’s house, where the family had fled for shelter. Zainab’s adult sister Taghrid lost both legs in the attack, and another adult sister was evacuated to hospital, where she died of her injuries.

A further four deaths took place on July 24 in Khan Younis. Mahmoud Ismail al-Astal, 16, was killed along with four other family members when a drone launched three missiles at the family’s home. Two of Mahmoud’s cousins, Nada al-Astal, 5, her brother Ameen, 3, were killed when another strike targeted their house nearby. Moatasem al-Najjar, 5, died from shrapnel injuries caused by Israeli shelling as he sheltered in his family’s basement.

An additional death was recorded on July 25 in Khan Younis, when Mahmoud Suleiman al-Astal, 16, succumbed to injuries sustained during a drone strike the previous day.

July 26 saw a high number of deaths confirmed, with ten children from one family killed in an Israeli airstrike on their home in Khan Younis. The Al-Najjar family home was targeted in the middle of the night without warning. Numerous relatives displaced by the violence were sheltering in the building at the time of the attack. Mutaz, 5, Samir, 1, Ghalia, 1, Bara’, 11, Hani, 7, Rawan, 16, Ahmad, 1, Amir, 2, Amira, 1, and Islam, 4, all died in the attack.

On July 27, two deaths were confirmed in Khan Younis, with July 28 bringing a further death in Nuseirat. Rami al-Rakab, 15, and Hussein Abu Saker, 16, were leaving the mosque when an Israeli drone fired a missile that led to the death of both boys. Abed Ahmad Ramadan, 15, died on July 28 when an Israeli drone missile hit his family’s house, causing it to collapse on his head and killing him instantly.

Another five children died on July 29. In Gaza City, a disabled child, 11-year-old Sujoud Alwan, was buried under her house when an aircraft targeted it without warning. Sujoud, who was paralyzed, was recovered from beneath the rubble the following day. In Deir al-Balah, 11-year-old Riham Abu Mashi was taking shelter with her family in her uncle’s house when an airstrike destroyed a neighboring building. Riham, who was sleeping at the time, was buried under the rubble when the house collapsed. In the same incident, Riham’s cousin, Tareq, also 11, died four days later in hospital following a surgery to amputate his leg. In Khan Younis, two 17-year-olds died when an Israeli drone missile landed next to them as they gathered outside a relative’s house where they had fled for safety. The final death occurred in Bureij refugee camp, central Gaza, when a missile hit the Abu-Shammaleh family home without warning, killing 7-year-old Mohammad Abu-Shammaleh.

Asma Abu al-Kaas, 16, Osama al-Hilo, 4, and Salah Musa Ibrahim Hajazi al-Ghalban, 13, all died on July 30. Asma, from Bureij, died when her home collapsed on her after an Israeli missile targeted the home of a neighbor. Her body was recovered by medical teams. Osama, from Al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza City, died as he played with other children in the street during a ceasefire. Two large explosions led to Osama sustaining shrapnel injuries that killed him. Salah, from Khan Younis, died when his grandfather’s house was targeted in an airstrike without warning. The missile destroyed the house and buried Salah in rubble, along with six of his family members.

The number of additional child deaths confirmed in the first three days of August was eight. One child, 16-year-old Fayez Yassin from Al-Zaytoun neighborhood of Gaza City, was killed on August 1 as he and his father attempted to take an injured person to the hospital in a car, which was targeted by an Israeli drone.

On August 2, four children died in Nuseirat when the Abu Madi family home was targeted. The three-story building collapsed, killing Ameed, 10, Yousef, 6, Hassan, 17, and Hala, a 17-day-old baby. Maisarah Abu Madi, who was pregnant at the time, sustained shrapnel injuries that resulted in the loss of her unborn baby. Another child, Amro Kandil, 17 was killed in Al-Maghazi refugee camp, central Gaza, when artillery fire hit his family’s house.

On August 3, two children died when their home in Deir al-Balah was hit by Israeli missiles. Dalia Hattab, 15, and Rimas Al-Attar, 4, were killed along with seven adults.

One Israeli child was also killed by Palestinian mortar fire on August 22. Daniel Tragerman, 4, from a kibbutz close to the Gaza border, sustained fatal injuries when the missile landed close to him. He became the first Israeli child, and the fourth civilian, to die in the 50-day conflict.