Over 20,000 Children Disappeared, Detained, Buried Amid Gaza War, Reveals Report

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Huge numbers trapped beneath rubble, buried in unmarked graves, detained by Israel, says Save the Children.

Up to 21,000 [1] children are estimated to be missing in the chaos of the war in Gaza, many trapped beneath rubble, detained, buried in unmarked graves, or lost from their families, said a report by Save the Children.

The agency’s child protection teams are reporting that the latest displacements caused by the offensive in Rafah have separated more children and further increased the strain on families and communities caring for them. 

“It is nearly impossible to collect and verify information under the current conditions in Gaza, but at least 17,000 children are believed to be unaccompanied and separated and approximately 4,000 children are likely missing under the rubble [2], with an unknown number also in mass graves. Others have been forcibly disappeared, including an unknown number detained and forcibly transferred out of Gaza, their whereabouts unknown to their families amidst reports of ill-treatment and torture,” it said in a report on Monday.

Israel has killed more than 14,000 children in Gaza since October 7, while others are suffering from severe malnutrition and do not “even have the energy to cry”, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), said in a report earlier this year.

“Since October, Gaza has faced relentless violence which has killed over 37,000 people, including thousands of children. It follows an attack in Israel by Palestinian armed groups that killed over a thousand people, including at least 33 children,” the Save the Children report reads.

It also notes that about 250 Palestinian children are also missing in the occupied West Bank, as of 9 June.

Accountability

Jeremy Stoner, Save the Children’s regional director for the Middle East, has called for an independent investigation into the situation surrounding Gaza’s missing children, and for accountability.

“Families are tortured by the uncertainty of the whereabouts of their loved ones. No parent should have to dig through rubble or mass graves to try and find their child’s body. No child should be alone, unprotected in a war zone. No child should be detained or held hostage,” he added.

C. Al Jazeera

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