326 Palestinian children killed as Israel plunges Gaza into darkness

Israeli warplanes fired three missiles at a residential building at the intersection of Al-Ternis Street in the middle of Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip around 11:30 a.m on October 9, killing 69 Palestinians, including at least 15 children, according to documentation collected by DCIP. (Photo: DCIP / Mohammad Abu Rukbeh)

Ramallah, October 11, 2023—Israeli authorities prohibit food, fuel, electricity, and water into the Gaza Strip as Defense for Children International – Palestine has so far confirmed the killing of at least 105 Palestinian children since Saturday, with the total now surpassing 300.

DCIP has confirmed the killing of at least 105 Palestinian children in direct Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip between October 7 and 11, while the Ministry of Health in Gaza announced today that over 326 children have been killed. DCIP staff in Gaza and the West Bank continue to document and confirm Palestinian child fatalities as hostilities continue between Palestinian armed groups and Israeli forces. Intensive Israeli bombardment throughout the Gaza Strip, lack of electricity, Israeli airstrikes on telecommunications infrastructure, and the unprecedented rate of daily child fatalities has resulted in a lag between confirmed fatalities by DCIP and the overall total child fatalities published regularly by the Ministry of Health in Gaza. 

“Israeli forces are destroying entire neighborhoods in the Gaza Strip as an apparent full-scale ground assault is imminent,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP. “Immediate humanitarian relief is necessary to protect civilians as Israeli forces prepare to intensify attacks and Israeli officials declare their intention to commit further war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

Around 6 p.m. on October 9, Israeli warplanes targeted, without prior warning, a two-story building behind the Golden Hall in the Americana area west of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, killing at least 14 Palestinians, including at least six children: siblings Karam, three, Akram, 10, Watan, one, Mahmoud, nine, Amani, four, and Fatima Mohammad Abdulrahim Al-Madhoon, seven, according to documentation collected by DCIP. Rescue teams were able to recover seven bodies.

An Israeli airstrike targeted without prior warning a residential building in Jabalia refugee camp around 9 a.m. on October 10, killing four Palestinians, including three children: Mohammad, two, Karam, three, and Naheda Mousa Yousef Al-Hesi, 11, according to documentation collected by DCIP. Other children were also injured in the attack.

Israeli warplanes targeted a residential building without prior warning around 11 a.m. on October 10 in Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip, killing 14 Palestinians, including seven children, according to documentation collected by DCIP. The airstrike killed seven children from the Ahmad family: siblings Mustafa, nine, and Elayn Tamer Mohammad Ahmad, four, their cousins Sidra, five, Haidy, one, Linda, seven, and Qusai Mohammad Aladdin Ahmad, three, as well as another cousin, two-year-old Obaida Rafat Aladdin Ahmad. 

Israeli warplanes completely destroyed a three-story residential building without warning in the Tal Al-Zaatar area of Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip around 9:25 p.m. on October 10, killing everyone inside, including at least one child, 10-year-old Mohammad Baraa Taysir Shahin, according to documentation collected by DCIP. Palestinian civil defense teams have recovered two bodies from the building, while an estimated 10 Palestinians were inside during the bombing.

In addition to these incidents, DCIP has verified the killing of an additional 11 Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip in other attacks, though DCIP field researchers are still gathering and verifying details of the incidents. Those killed include:

  • Ali Omar Mousa Al-Qatnani, four, from Jabalia
  • Siblings Layan, two and Majd Mohammad Ismail Salah, two, from Beit Lahia
  • Haitham Khaled Abdulazeem Asayleh, 17, from Jabalia
  • Hassan Mohammad Ismail Salah, nine, from Jabalia
  • Malak Mohammad Majed Al-Daqs, two, from Jabalia
  • Kenan Mohammad Mahmoud Farhat, two, from Jabalia
  • Cousins Nadeen Mohammad Abdulati Salah, 13, and Diaa’ Ahmad Abdulati Salah, six months, from Jabalia
  • Mohammad Hassan Ali Al-Zain, seven, from Khan Younis
  • Sham Mohammad Saleh Al-Sawalha, eight months, from Jabalia

Israeli forces unleashed a massive military offensive on the Gaza Strip on Saturday after Palestinian armed groups fired rockets toward Israel and breached the Israeli perimeter fence surrounding Gaza early on October 7, launching attacks inside Israel. Israeli forces initiated a large-scale military operation dubbed Operation Iron Swords. 

At least 1,100 Palestinians, including at least 326 children, have been killed in the Gaza Strip since Saturday morning, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza. DCIP is working to document additional attacks and killings. Israeli forces have shot and killed six Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank since October 7, including 12-year-old Ahmad Abdulnaser Adnan Rabi

DCIP previously confirmed the killing of at least 74 Palestinian children in direct Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip between October 7 and 10, 2023, in a report issued yesterday.

Over 263,934 people in the Gaza strip have fled their homes as mass displacement escalates with intensifying Israeli attacks, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA). More than 175,486 internally displaced Palestinians are sheltering in 88 United Nations schools throughout the Gaza Strip, while over 73,900 Palestinians, whose homes have been destroyed or damaged, are hosted by relatives and neighbors, according to UN OCHA.

Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said in a video statement on Monday that Israeli authorities would cut electricity and block the entry of food and fuel as part of “a complete siege” on the Gaza Strip. Israel authorities stopped supplying electricity to the Gaza Strip on October 7, and the Gaza Power Plant will run out of fuel by midday on October 11, according to UN OCHA. Israeli authorities also cut off Gaza’s water supply on October 8.

Israeli airstrikes have destroyed two of the three main lines for mobile communication in the Gaza Strip, according to UN OCHA. Israeli airstrikes have also damaged five water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities in the central and northern Gaza Strip, impacting water access to at least 500,000 people. Sewage lines in the northern Gaza Strip have been damaged by Israeli airstrikes, leading to the accumulation of sewage and solid waste in the streets of Beit Lahia.

More than 1,200 Israelis have been killed in Palestinian armed group attacks since October 7, according to news media reports.

Israeli forces and settlers have killed at least 3,752 Palestinian civilians since 2008 throughout the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, according to UN OCHA. Since 2000, Israeli forces and settlers have killed more than 2,400 Palestinian children as of October 11, 2023, according to documentation collected by DCIP.

International humanitarian law prohibits indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks and requires all parties to an armed conflict to distinguish between military targets, civilians, and civilian objects. Deploying explosive weapons in densely-populated civilian areas constitutes indiscriminate attacks and carrying out direct attacks against civilians or civilian objects amounts to war crimes.

Israeli authorities have imposed a closure policy against the Gaza Strip since 2007 by strictly controlling and limiting the entry and exit of individuals; maintaining harsh restrictions on imports including food, construction materials, fuel, and other essential items; as well as prohibiting exports. Israel continues to maintain complete control over the Gaza Strip’s borders, airspace, and territorial waters.