Since October 7, more than 3,257 children have been reported killed, including at least 3,195 in Gaza, 33 in the West Bank, and 29 in Israel, according to the Ministries of Health in Gaza and Israel respectively. The number of children reported killed in just three weeks in Gaza is more than the number killed in armed conflict globally – across more than 20 countries – over the course of a whole year, for the last three years.
Children make up more than 40% of the 7,703 people killed in Gaza, and more than a third of all fatalities across the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel. With a further 1,000 children reported missing in Gaza assumed buried under the rubble, the death toll is likely much higher.
On Friday, Israeli forces announced “expanded ground operations” in the Gaza Strip, with Save the Children warning it will bring more deaths, injuries and distress while calling for an immediate ceasefire.
Save the Children Country Director for the occupied Palestinian territory Jason Lee, said:
“Three weeks of violence have ripped children from families and torn through their lives at an unimaginable rate. The numbers are harrowing and with violence not only continuing but expanding in Gaza right now, many more children remain at grave risk.
"One child’s death is one too many, but these are grave violations of epic proportions. A ceasefire is the only way to ensure their safety. The international community must put people before politics – every day spent debating is leaving children killed and injured. Children must be protected at all times, especially when they are seeking safety in schools and hospitals.”
It is reported that at least 6,360 children in Gaza have also been injured, as well as at least 180 children in the West Bank, and at least 74 children in Israel. More than 200 individuals, including children, remain hostages inside Gaza.
The risk of children dying from injuries has never been higher, with the UN reporting that a third of hospitals across the Gaza Strip are no longer operational due to electricity cuts and a “total siege” by the Government of Israel blocking entry of goods such as fuel and medicine. According to Medecins Sans Frontiers, resulting anaesthesia shortages have meant amputating children without pain relief.
Save the Children is gravely concerned that the unfolding expanded ground operation in Gaza by Israeli forces will unavoidably result in more child casualties, with children’s bodies particularly vulnerable to the explosive weaponry.
Save the Children calls for an immediate ceasefire. We call on all parties to the conflict to take immediate steps to protect the lives of children, and on the international community to support those efforts, as is their obligation.
MEDIA CONTACT: Holly Robertson on 0414 546 656 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
According to the last three Annual Reports of the UN Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict, a total of 2,985 children were killed across 24 countries in 2022, 2,515 in 2021 and 2,674 in 2020 across 22 countries. In 2019, 4,019 children were killed.
At least 74 children in Israel have been reported injured, according to Israeli media.
Save the Children is an independent, impartial organisation. With the ongoing complete siege of Gaza, journalists and international organisations are not able to get access to Gaza to verify independently and provide updated data on the impact of ongoing bombardment on the civilian population. Save the Children, in line with OCHA updates, is currently relying on data from the Israeli Ministry of Health for casualties in Israel and from the Gaza Ministry of Health for casualties inside Gaza. Due to the current situation, information and numbers provided by both ministries cannot be verified independently.