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Escalating crisis in Gaza poses "serious threat" to children, says UNICEF

Meanwhile, UN rights commissioner condemns military action by Israeli and Hamas forces.

Palestinian children look at mourners carrying the bodies of Roshdi, Mohammed and Reyad Naser during their funeral in the southern Gaza Strip on Saturday.
Palestinian children look at mourners carrying the bodies of Roshdi, Mohammed and Reyad Naser during their funeral in the southern Gaza Strip on Saturday.
Image: Khalil Hamra/AP/PA Wire

THE DETERIORATING SITUATION in Gaza are posing a “serious threat” to children, UNICEF said today as it issued an urgent appeal for additional funding to provide humanitarian support.

“Boys and girls in Gaza have been affected by house demolitions and military operations, arrests, poor treatment and harassment at checkpoints,” UNICEF said in a statement.

It said that the conflict poses “a serious threat to children” and is “exacerbating already dire humanitarian conditions for families who were already suffering from a lack of basic services and a fuel crisis”.

One-third of all civilians killed in the current crisis were children, UNICEF said, while an estimated 900 children have been injured.

UNICEF has revised its global appeal for humanitarian support funding to €10 million for this year.

Speaking today, UN human rights commissioner Navy Pillay said Israel’s military actions in Gaza could amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Pillay criticised “indiscriminate” firing by Hamas and other armed groups from Gaza, and said it is unacceptable for fighters to put military assets in civilian areas.

Addressing the issue of military attacks on civilian homes, she said:

Civilian homes are not legitimate targets unless they are being used for, or contribute to, military purposes at the time in question. In case of doubt, civilian homes are presumed not to be legitimate targets.Even where a home is identified as being used for military purposes, any attack must be proportionate, offer a definite military advantage in the prevailing circumstances at the time, and precautions must be taken.

Yesterday, the spokesperson for the UN’s humanitarian coordination wing, Jens Laerke, voiced urgent concern for civilians amid the escalating violence:

Read: Palestinian family finds missing son ‘by chance’ – in YouTube video of his death >

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