Gaza children bearing the brunt in Israel-Hamas conflict
Suzy Ishkontana hardly speaks or eats. It's been two days since the 7-year-old girl was pulled from the rubble of what was once her family's home, destroyed amid a barrage of Israeli airstrikes. She spent hours buried in the wreckage as her siblings and mother died around her. Children are being subjected to extensive trauma in Israel's bombardment of the Gaza Strip. For some, it's trauma they've seen repeatedly throughout their short lives. This is the fourth time in 12 years Israel and Gaza's Hamas rulers have gone to war. Each time, Israel has unleashed heavy airstrikes at the densely populated Gaza Strip as it vows to stop Hamas rocket barrages launched toward Israel.
According to Gaza health officials, at least 63 children are among the 217 Palestinians who have been killed in Gaza since the latest conflict between Israel and Hamas began on May 10. On the Israeli side, 12 people have been killed by Hamas rockets, all but one of them civilians, including a 5-year-old boy.
Israel says it does everything it can to prevent civilian casualties, including issuing warnings for people to evacuate buildings about to be struck. As Hamas has fired hundreds of rockets into Israel, most of them intercepted by anti-missile defenses, Israel's military has pounded hundreds of sites in Gaza, where some 2 million people live squeezed into a tight urban fabric.
Videos on social media from Gaza have shown the grief of survivors from families wiped out in an instant.
"They were four! Where are they? Four!" wailed one father outside a hospital after learning all four of his children had been killed. Another showed a young boy screaming "Baba," as he ran to the front of the funeral procession where men were carrying his father's body to burial.