Eleven children killed by Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip in the past week were participants in a programme aimed at helping them deal with trauma, a humanitarian organisation has said.
The children, aged between 5 and 15, were killed in their homes. They are among 60 children to have died from Israel’s most recent bombardment of Gaza.
A spokesperson for the Norwegian Refugee Council, which ran the programme helping kids in Gaza process trauma, said the organisation was “devastated” to learn of the children’s deaths.
“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,” said the Norwegian Refugee Council’s secretary general Jan Egeland.
Among the children killed was 13-year-old Tala Ayman Abu al-Auf, who died in airstrikes in Gaza City in the early hours of Sunday morning. Her 17-year-old brother and her father, Dr Ayman Abu al-Auf, head of internal medicine at Gaza City’s Shifa hospital, were also killed.
The Norwegian Refugee Council said it works in more than 100 schools in the Gaza Strip, reaching more than 75,000 children through its Better Learning Programme, which it describes as psycho-social intervention.
According to Gaza health officials, more than 200 people have been killed in Israeli airstrikes over the past week. Twelve people in Israel have been killed by rockets fired by militants in Gaza.
The Norwegian Refugee Council published the names of the children killed who were part of its trauma programme: Lina Iyad Sharir, 15, Hala Hussein al-Rifi, 13, Dima Rami al-Ifranji, 15, Mira Rami al-Ifranji, 11, Tala Ayman Abu al-Auf, 13, Dana Riad Ishkantna, 9, Rafeef Murshed Abu Dayer, 10, Yara Mohammad al-Kawlak, 9, Rula Mohammad al-Kawlak, 5, Hala Mohammad al-Kawlak, 12, Hana Shukri al-Kawlak, 14.