Up to 21,000 Children Estimated Missing in Gaza

Gaza, MINA – Up to 21,000 children are estimated to be missing after nearly 9 months of Israel’s assault on the Gaza Strip, many trapped beneath rubble, detained, buried in unmarked graves, or lost from their families, said Save the Children, Wafa reported.

The organization stated in a statement that the number of children separated from their families has increased due to the escalating Israeli attacks on the city of Rafah in the south of the Gaza Strip, and that those who protect unprotected children are under pressure.

It is almost 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, with an unknown number also in mass graves.

It added that other children have been forcibly ‘disappeared’, including an unknown number detained and transferred out of the Strip , their whereabouts unknown to their families amidst reports of ill-treatment and torture.

The organization also pointed out that the bodies of those who were buried under the rubble or burned to death in tents during the Israeli attacks have become difficult to identify.

In turn, the organization’s regional director in the Middle East, Jeremy Stoner, said, “Many parents do not know the whereabouts of their loved ones, and no parent should dig in rubble or mass graves to find his child, nor should any child remain alone and unprotected in a war zone.”

He stressed the need for an urgent ceasefire to find the missing children and reunite them with their families if they are alive. (T/RE1/P2)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)