20,000 Palestinian children are missing in Gaza, says NGO

Displaced Palestinians leave for safe haven in Khan Younis, in the al-Mawasi district, west of Rafah, southern Gaza, on Saturday, June 22, 2024. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel will end the intense stage of fighting in Gaza soon and redeploy some forces to northern Israel where violence with Lebanon-based Hezbollah has escalated and triggered fears of another all-out conflict. - Bloomberg

ISTANBUL (Bernama-Anadolu): More than 20,000 Palestinian children are missing in Gaza due to Israel's assault on the enclave; many trapped beneath rubble, detained, buried in unmarked graves, or lost from their families, Anadolu Agency reported, citing the non-governmental organisation (NGO) Save the Children.

In a statement on Monday, the UK-based charity said it is "nearly impossible” to collect and verify information under the current conditions in Gaza, where Israel continues its ground and air attacks, 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.

"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," the NGO said.

"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," said Save the Children regional director for the Middle East, Jeremy Stoner.

Israel has killed more than 37,000 Palestinians, most of them women and children since Oct 7, 2023.

Israeli actions have triggered a humanitarian disaster and an ongoing trial over alleged genocide at the International Court of Justice. - Bernama-Anadolu

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Gaza , children , missing , Israel , NGO report


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