RT News & Sky News – 2014-08-23 23:26:51
469 Gaza Children Killed,
Over 370,000 Need ‘Psychosocial Aid’ â€“ UNICEF
(August 22, 2014) — At least 469 children have been killed and over 3,000 injured in Gaza since the start of the Israeli offensive, a senior UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) official said, adding that more than 370,000 Palestinian kids require “immediate psychosocial first aid.”
Nine children have died in Gaza violence since Wednesday, the chief of UNICEF’s Gaza field office, Pernilla Ironside, said at a press conference on Thursday in New York.
“There isn’t a single family in Gaza who hasn’t experienced personally death, injury, the loss of their home, extensive damage, displacement,” Ironside said.
She stressed that while 373,000 Palestinian children are in need of “immediate psychosocial first aid,” UNICEF only has 50 psychologists and counselors on the ground in Gaza. Those specialists were able to reach just 3,000 children.
“The impact has truly been vast, both at a very physical level, in terms of casualties, injuries, the infrastructure that’s been damaged, but also importantly, emotionally and psychologically in terms of the destabilizing impact that not knowing, not truly feeling like there is anywhere safe place to go in Gaza,” Ironside said. “All they want is a sense of safety,” she added. “They basically just want it to stop.”
UNICEF estimated that at least 219 schools have been damaged by Israeli airstrikes, while 22 were completely destroyed.
To demonstrate the extent of the damage in Gaza, Ironside estimated that it could take up to 18 years to rebuild the 17,000 housing units that were damaged in the conflict and in light of the ongoing blockade of the region limiting the movement of goods and people.
Israeli-Palestinian rocket fire resumed on Tuesday after Gaza truce talks broke down with both Israel and Palestine threatening to quit peace talk negotiations.
On Wednesday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned “in the strongest terms” the breach of the Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire, adding that he is “gravely disappointed” by the renewal of hostilities in Gaza.
“The Secretary-General reminds both sides of their responsibility not to let the situation escalate. The hopes of the people in Gaza for a better future and the hopes of the people in Israel for sustainable security rest on the talks in Cairo,” the statement said.
The overall death toll in Gaza has exceeded 2,000 since Israel’s government launched operation Protective Edge on July 8.
Israel Threatens ‘Heavy Price’ As Child Killed
TEL AVIV (August 22, 2014) — A mortar bomb fired from the Gaza Strip has killed a four-year-old child in Israel, according to emergency officials. The attack occurred early on Friday evening in the southern Israeli village of in Sdot Negev, near the frontier. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that “Hamas will pay a heavy price” for the death of the boy.
He suffered fatal wounds after the barrage of mortars landed in the collective farm, known as a kibbutz. A mobile intensive care ambulance was sent to the scene and firefighters hosed down vehicles in a car park that were set on fire.
Mr Netanyahu said Israel’s military would raise the tempo of operations against Hamas in the Gaza Strip “until the goals of Operation Protective Edge are achieved.”
It was the first Israeli death since a new round of fighting erupted on Tuesday between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers following the collapse of cease-fire talks in Cairo earlier this week. The boy would be the fourth civilian in Israel to be killed in an attack from the coastal territory since the outbreak of conflict on July 8.
Earlier in the day three people were injured by shrapnel, after rocket fired from Gaza hit a synagogue in the city of Ashdod. The attack came just hours before the start of the Jewish Sabbath. Ashdod is around 20 miles from Gaza and the rocket was one of more than two dozen fired into Israel.
Hamas also killed 18 people suspected of being informers for Israel on Friday. The group said 11 were killed by firing squad at the Gaza City police headquarters following sentencing by courts. Hamas media then reported that seven more alleged informants had been targeted by masked gunmen near a mosque.
Two of those killed were women, according to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, which called for an immediate halt to what it said were “extra-judicial executions”. Israel’s intelligence services rely, in part, on informers to pinpoint the whereabouts of Hamas leaders.
The deaths come a day after Israel killed three top Hamas commanders — Mohammed Abu Shammala, Raed al Attar and Mohammed Barhoum — in an airstrike on a house in the southern Gaza Strip.
Meanwhile, Israeli airstrikes in Gaza have reportedly killed four Palestinians — including two at the Nusseirat refugee camp. The Israeli Defence Force said it had launched about 20 airstrikes on targets inside Gaza on Friday in response to at least 26 rockets fired at Israel.
Protests by Palestinians also broke out across the West Bank on Friday, with youths clashing with Israeli security forces in Bethlehem and Hebron. Youths used slingshots against Israeli security forces in Bethlehem.
So far more than 2,000 Palestinians have been killed in the conflict, as Israel sought to destroy a network of tunnels used by Hamas and other militants.
A total of 64 Israeli soldiers have also been killed in the conflict.
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