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Live updates: Israel-Hamas war, Gaza airstrikes

Noor Marouf, whose limb was amputated after being wounded in an Israeli strike, sits in a wheelchair as she is helped by her aunt at the European Hospital in Rafah, Gaza, on December 28. (Arafat Barbakh/Reuters)

More than 10 children on average have lost one or both of their legs every day in Gaza since October 7, while many of the amputations are conducted without anesthetic, the charity Save the Children said in a statement Sunday, referencing statistics released by the United Nations. 

“The suffering of children in this conflict is unimaginable and even more so because it is unnecessary and completely avoidable,” said Jason Lee, Save the Children’s Country Director for the occupied Palestinian territory.

“The killing and maiming of children is condemned as a grave violation against children, and perpetrators must be held to account.”

Lee said he has seen “doctors and nurses completely overwhelmed” when children are brought in with blast wounds. 

“The impact of seeing children in that much pain and not having the equipment, medicines to treat them or alleviate pain is too much for even experienced professionals. Even in a war zone, the sights and sounds of a young child mutilated by bombs cannot be reconciled let alone understood within the bounds of humanity,” Lee said. 

In its statement, the charity referenced remarks from UNICEF spokesperson James Elder, who after returning from Gaza, said on December 19 that around 1,000 children in Gaza have lost one or both of their legs since October 7, as hospitals are overwhelmed with children and their parents bearing “the ghastly wounds of war.” 

Save the Children also referenced a World Health Organization statement in which the agency said many of these operations on children in Gaza were conducted without anesthetic, as the enclave is facing severe shortages of medicines and medical supplies. 

The charity said children are nearly seven times more likely to die from blast injuries than adults as they are more vulnerable and sensitive to injuries. “Their skulls are still not fully formed, and their undeveloped muscles offer less protection, so a blast is more likely to tear apart organs in their abdomen, even when there’s no visible damage,” Lee said. 

“Unless action is taken by the international community to uphold their responsibilities under International Humanitarian Law and prevent the most serious crimes of international concern, history will and should judge us all,” Lee said. 

Only “a definitive ceasefire” would end “the killing and maiming of civilians” and would enable “desperately needed humanitarian aid” to reach Gaza, including critical medicines for wounded children, he added. 

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has repeatedly said it is not targeting civilians and that terror group Hamas uses civilian infrastructure, including hospitals, as shields for its attacks on Israel. 

The Hamas-run Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza said on Sunday that at least 22,835 Palestinians have been killed and at least 58,416 have been injured in Gaza since October 7. At least 113 people have been killed and at least 250 have been injured over the past 24 hours, the ministry said. 

CNN is not able to independently verify the numbers released by the health ministry. 


January 2024