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Constant Israeli bombardment turning Gaza into 'graveyard of children': UNICEF

A man carries a dead body of a child to the morgue of the Nassr hospital, after the Israeli airstrikes in Khan Yunis, Gaza on October 19, 2023.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has raised the alarm over the rising number of child deaths in the Gaza Strip, amid the ongoing incessant bombardment of the besieged Palestinian enclave.

UNICEF spokesman James Elder told a UN press briefing in the Swiss city of Geneva on Thursday that children in Gaza were dying not only due to airstrikes but also because of a lack of needed medical care.

“Our gravest fears about the reported numbers of children killed, going from dozens into hundreds into thousands have been realized in just a fortnight.”

The spokesman lamented that the death toll among minors had exceeded 3,450.

“Staggeringly, this number rises significantly every single day,” Elder warned, saying that Gaza “has become a graveyard of children. It is a living hell for everyone else.”

“And yet the threats to children go beyond bombs,” he said, underling that water and trauma were among other threats faced in the besieged Palestinian enclave.

He warned that more than 1 million children in Gaza faced a critical water crisis as Gaza’s daily water output was at 5 percent of its production capacity.

“So, child deaths to dehydration, particularly infant deaths to dehydration, are a growing threat,” he said.

On trauma, the spokesperson said: When finally the fighting stops the cost to children and their communities is going to be borne out for generations to come

Elder stressed that, before the current conflict began, more than 800,000 children in Gaza were identified as in need of mental health and psychological support.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Elder reiterated UNICEF's call for an immediate cease-fire and humanitarian access to supplies for the besieged enclave.

WHO warns of 'imminent public health catastrophe'

Meanwhile, Elder's WHO counterpart, Christian Lindmeier, warns of an "imminent public health catastrophe" in the area due to "mass displacement, overcrowding (and) damage to water and sanitation infrastructure".

An Israeli blockade of the strip has also cut Gaza off from fuel, electricity, and water supplies, and reduced aid deliveries to a small trickle unable to satisfy the needs of the over 2 million Palestinians there.

It’s now Day 25 of Israel’s war on the Gaza Strip, with the regime pounding the territory from the air, land and sea.

The relentless attacks have so far claimed the lives of over 8,500 people, including nearly 3,500 children. Another 21,000 Palestinians have also been injured.

Officials in Gaza say more than 1,000 people are still missing under the rubble of buildings destroyed in the attacks.

They say Israel has dropped more than 18,000 tons of explosives on Gaza since October 7.

Palestinians also accuse the regime of using internationally banned white phosphorus bombs in its attacks on the besieged territory.

Earlier, the resistance movement Islamic Jihad dismissed Israel’s claims about making major advances in its ground invasion of Gaza.

The movement said Israel is deliberately misleading information about its attempts to penetrate into the besieged Palestinian territory.

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