Friday, 29 August 2014

Gaza children left orphaned by Israel's bloody war


"She will call me Daddy and Mummy," insisted 11-year-old Amir Hamad, cradling his infant sister in his arms after the Gaza war left him and his four siblings orphans.

Fifty days of bloody fighting in and around the war-torn Gaza Strip has cost the lives of nearly 500 children, but it has also turned hundreds more into orphans, who face a future deprived of their parents' love.

"I would rather be dead than without my mother and father," Amir told AFP, saying he would never forget that fateful moment on the second day of the war when they were killed.

"My parents were drinking their coffee in the evening after breaking the (Ramadan) fast, when a bomb fell onto our home," he said, recalling how an Israeli air strike hit their home in northern Gaza.

"I saw them lying on the ground and knew immediately they were dead," said Amir, the oldest of the five children. His sister Lamis, just four-months-old, is the youngest.

Amir's six-year-old brother Nur had laid motionless, his face covered in blood.

"Two paramedics took him," Amir recalled, watching Nur who is now sitting safely next to him.

"I'll look after my brothers and sisters. But I'm scared, because my parents are no longer here to help me."

There are still adult figures in the family -- the grandmother and grandfather.

The grandmother Afaf Hamad, 60, was displaced by fighting that made almost half a million people homeless, but said she would do whatever to look after the five children.

But she has no idea how she will fund their education.

"I'll never leave them, I'll raise them as I did my daughter," she said.

"But how will we pay for school?" more

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