Gaza family describes horror of being stuck under rubble after Israeli air strike

More than 10,000 children have been killed in the war with Israel

Gaza children recount being stuck under rubble

Gaza children recount being stuck under rubble
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Asmahan, an 11-year-old Palestinian displaced in Gaza, has described the moment Israelis struck the school in which she and her family were sheltering, leaving them stuck under rubble for an hour.

The horrific incident took place in the besieged enclave a few days ago.

"My siblings and I were at school when three missiles struck," she said. "We were stuck under the rubble for an hour.

"Even now I struggle to fall asleep at night, plagued of dreams of being trapped under the rubble"

Asmahan’s three siblings are in the third, fifth and seventh grade.

With no rescue in sight, the four children started to feel cold and breathless.

"During that hour, we were trapped under the debris with no idea how to get out," she said.

“We were calling for people but no one heard our pleas,” she said, sitting on a hospital bed.

All the siblings sustained serious injuries.

“I sustained injuries to my face and three fractures to my foot,” Asmahan said.

The nearly four-month war in the tiny enclave with a population of 2.3 million has killed more than 26,700 people including at least 10,000 children. That is one Palestinian child killed every 15 minutes, or about one out of every 100 children in the Gaza Strip.

More than 65,600 have been injured by the relentless and indiscriminate Israeli bombardment, including thousands of children.

Last month UN children's fund Unicef appealed for a lasting ceasefire in Gaza, with spokesman James Elder describing inaction as “an approval of the killing of children”.

Asmahan’s mother, who was also buried under debris, said: “It was one of the most difficult moments of our lives.

“I passed out when the missile struck us … I woke up coughing violently … the concrete pinned me down and I couldn’t breathe.

“Dying was better than enduring these difficult moments trapped under the rubble and desperately calling for help.”

Her husband did not survive the air strike.

The UN agency working for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) estimates 1.7 million residents of Gaza have been displaced since the war started on October 7. Many of them have been displaced a number of times, as families have been forced to move repeatedly in search of safety.

Gaza was described in November by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres as a "children’s graveyard".

More than two months on, thousands more have been killed and more than 25,000 children have lost one or both parents in the war, according to a report by the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Observatory.

Updated: January 31, 2024, 1:44 PM