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Gaza’s silent children – in pictures

The Guardian - Thu Jul 22 07:47

  • Youssef al-Madhoun, 11, at his house in Beit Lahia, northern Gaza Strip. Before the war, Youssef excelled in school and talked of becoming a doctor. Now, said his father, Ahmed Awad Selim al-Madhoun, he is afraid to sleep at night, afraid to step outside alone. He leaves the door open when he’s in the bathroom

    Youssef al-Madhoun, 11, at his house in Beit Lahia, northern Gaza Strip. Before the war, Youssef excelled in school and talked of becoming a doctor. Now, said his father, Ahmed Awad Selim al-Madhoun, he is afraid to sleep at night, afraid to step outside alone. He leaves the door open when he’s in the bathroom
  • Suzy Ishkontana, 7, in the house of a family member where she is living after her house was destroyed in an airstrike during an 11-day war in Gaza City. Suzy’s mother, her two brothers and two sisters – aged two to nine – died in the 16 May Israeli attack on the densely packed al-Wahda street. Israeli authorities say the bombs’ target was Hamas tunnels; 42 people died, including 16 women and 10 children. ‘My kids who died and my wife, they are now in a safe place and there is no worry about them, but my greater fear is for Suzy,’ says her father, Riad Ishkontana

    Suzy Ishkontana, 7, in the house of a family member where she is living after her house was destroyed in an airstrike during an 11-day war in Gaza City. Suzy’s mother, her two brothers and two sisters – aged two to nine – died in the 16 May Israeli attack on the densely packed al-Wahda street. Israeli authorities say the bombs’ target was Hamas tunnels; 42 people died, including 16 women and 10 children. ‘My kids who died and my wife, they are now in a safe place and there is no worry about them, but my greater fear is for Suzy,’ says her father, Riad Ishkontana
  • Qasim al-Masri, six, at his house in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza Strip. An explosion on 10 May in a field near their home killed his best friend and cousin, Marwan, seven. They’d been inseparable, his father says. Marwan’s only brother, Ibrahim, 11, was also killed. The attack completely changed Qasim, his father says. The young boy talks to himself. At night, he’s paralysed by fear and does not get out of bed to use the bathroom

    Qasim al-Masri, six, at his house in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza Strip. An explosion on 10 May in a field near their home killed his best friend and cousin, Marwan, seven. They’d been inseparable, his father says. Marwan’s only brother, Ibrahim, 11, was also killed. The attack completely changed Qasim, his father says. The young boy talks to himself. At night, he’s paralysed by fear and does not get out of bed to use the bathroom
  • Lama Sihweil, 14, in her house in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza Strip. When the 2014 war broke out, Lama and her family fled their home in Beit Hanoun when the Israeli army invaded, joining 3,300 Palestinians crammed into the UN-run Abu Hussein school in the Jabaliya refugee camp. As they slept, Israeli shells pounded the school and the street. Three of Lama’s cousins – aged 14, 16 and 26 – were among the 16 killed in that attack. The 2014 war claimed more than 2,100 Palestinian lives in Gaza

    Lama Sihweil, 14, in her house in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza Strip. When the 2014 war broke out, Lama and her family fled their home in Beit Hanoun when the Israeli army invaded, joining 3,300 Palestinians crammed into the UN-run Abu Hussein school in the Jabaliya refugee camp. As they slept, Israeli shells pounded the school and the street. Three of Lama’s cousins – aged 14, 16 and 26 – were among the 16 killed in that attack. The 2014 war claimed more than 2,100 Palestinian lives in Gaza
  • Oday Abu Muawad, six, at a school run by the UN where his family is taking shelter after their home was destroyed, in northern Gaza Strip. His mother and the four children, aged three to 11, fled their home just in time. Before the war, Oday always smiled and loved to joke around with people. He preferred playing with older kids and sitting with adults, his father says. ‘Now, he watches kids playing on the television and asks: “Why can’t we play like them?”’ Abu Muawad says. ‘I don’t know how to reply, what to tell him.’ And in the night, he often wakes up screaming

    Oday Abu Muawad, six, at a school run by the UN where his family is taking shelter after their home was destroyed, in northern Gaza Strip. His mother and the four children, aged three to 11, fled their home just in time. Before the war, Oday always smiled and loved to joke around with people. He preferred playing with older kids and sitting with adults, his father says. ‘Now, he watches kids playing on the television and asks: “Why can’t we play like them?”’ Abu Muawad says. ‘I don’t know how to reply, what to tell him.’ And in the night, he often wakes up screaming
  • Maya Abu Muawad, eight, at a school run by the UN where her family is taking shelter after their home was destroyed during an 11-day war in northern Gaza Strip. After Israeli airstrikes on the family’s home, Maya was separated from her mother. Alone and afraid, she rode in an ambulance to safer ground. For 15 minutes, she was locked in the wailing vehicle with a dying person and a wounded boy, her neighbour

    Maya Abu Muawad, eight, at a school run by the UN where her family is taking shelter after their home was destroyed during an 11-day war in northern Gaza Strip. After Israeli airstrikes on the family’s home, Maya was separated from her mother. Alone and afraid, she rode in an ambulance to safer ground. For 15 minutes, she was locked in the wailing vehicle with a dying person and a wounded boy, her neighbour
  • Thaim Abu Oda, five, at the end of a therapy session at the Gaza community mental health programme centre in Gaza City. For 11 days in May, the boy’s life was devastated by war – by the terrifying boom of fighter jets overhead and the bombs that shook his neighbourhood. He stopped eating. He lost more than 5kg. His face became gaunt and his ribs protruded. He lost sleep, too, especially after hearing his grandfather had survived an airstrike on his building and had been hospitalised

    Thaim Abu Oda, five, at the end of a therapy session at the Gaza community mental health programme centre in Gaza City. For 11 days in May, the boy’s life was devastated by war – by the terrifying boom of fighter jets overhead and the bombs that shook his neighbourhood. He stopped eating. He lost more than 5kg. His face became gaunt and his ribs protruded. He lost sleep, too, especially after hearing his grandfather had survived an airstrike on his building and had been hospitalised
  • Elien al-Madhoun, six, at her grandfather’s house, where she is living after her house was destroyed during an 11-day war, in Beit Lahia, northern Gaza Strip. Elien was not yet born when her father lost his home in the 2014 Gaza War. In May, she screamed out at the sounds of airstrikes and shelling in Bait Lahia in northern Gaza, says her father, Ahmed Rabah al-Madhoun. ‘When nine homes are completely destroyed next to one another and my daughter sees this, she can’t understand what happened,’ he says

    Elien al-Madhoun, six, at her grandfather’s house, where she is living after her house was destroyed during an 11-day war, in Beit Lahia, northern Gaza Strip. Elien was not yet born when her father lost his home in the 2014 Gaza War. In May, she screamed out at the sounds of airstrikes and shelling in Bait Lahia in northern Gaza, says her father, Ahmed Rabah al-Madhoun. ‘When nine homes are completely destroyed next to one another and my daughter sees this, she can’t understand what happened,’ he says
  • Abdullah Srour, 16, in his house in Beit Lahia, northern Gaza Strip. For years, Abdullah lived in a state of constant fear. He’s survived four wars in Gaza, and with each war he grows more afraid, more insular. ‘After this war,’ says his mother, ‘he’s regressed to a child of five years old.’

    Abdullah Srour, 16, in his house in Beit Lahia, northern Gaza Strip. For years, Abdullah lived in a state of constant fear. He’s survived four wars in Gaza, and with each war he grows more afraid, more insular. ‘After this war,’ says his mother, ‘he’s regressed to a child of five years old.’
  • Batool al-Masri, 14, at her house in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza Strip. On 10 May, in a field near their home, Batool carried her cousin Yazan, a toddler, aged two. ‘Twenty-four hours a day she was spoiling him,’ says Batool’s father, Mohammed Atallah al-Masri. Then, an explosion. It’s not clear whether the rocket was fired by Israel or Hamas. But in an instant, eight people died, including six children. Yazan died in front of Batool. She tried to save him, ignoring injuries to her legs and pelvis

    Batool al-Masri, 14, at her house in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza Strip. On 10 May, in a field near their home, Batool carried her cousin Yazan, a toddler, aged two. ‘Twenty-four hours a day she was spoiling him,’ says Batool’s father, Mohammed Atallah al-Masri. Then, an explosion. It’s not clear whether the rocket was fired by Israel or Hamas. But in an instant, eight people died, including six children. Yazan died in front of Batool. She tried to save him, ignoring injuries to her legs and pelvis