Body of 6-year-old killed in ‘deliberate’ Israeli fire found after 12 days

Relatives find body of Hind Rajab who had begged rescuers to send help after being trapped by Israeli military fire.

school graduation photo of Hind Rajab [Courtesy of Ghada Ageel]
Hind Rajab was missing since January 29 when the Israeli army opened fire on a car she was in, killing her relatives in Gaza [Courtesy of Ghada Ageel]

The body of a six-year-old Palestinian girl, missing for 12 days after an Israeli tank targeted their family car in Gaza, has been found along with the bodies of two medics dispatched to look for them.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) and the family of the girl, Hind Rajab, confirmed on Saturday that all seven people inside the car were killed, with the Palestinian relief organisation saying it lost crew members Yusuf Zeino and Ahmed al-Madhoun in the Israeli attack on civilians in Gaza City.

Family members found Hind’s body along with those of her uncle and aunt and their three children near a roundabout in the city’s Tal al-Hawa suburb, the Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.

Another of Hind’s uncles, Sameeh Hamadeh, said the car was peppered with bullet holes.

“The occupation deliberately targeted the ambulance upon its arrival at the scene, where it was found just metres away from the vehicle containing the trapped child Hind,” said the PRCS statement.

“Despite prior coordination to allow the ambulance to reach the location to rescue the child, Hind, the occupation deliberately targeted the Palestine Red Crescent ambulance crew.”

Earlier this month, the PRCS published an audio file in which Hind could be heard pleading on the phone with a member of the rescue team. All members of her family are believed to have been killed before her, leaving her terrified in the car with the dead bodies of her loved ones.

“I’m so scared, please come. Please call someone to come and take me,” she was heard crying desperately in the call that PRCS said lasted three hours in an effort to calm the frightened child.

The Israeli army had earlier said it was not aware of the incident.

The PRCS had started a count of the number of hours since it lost contact with Hind and the crew in trying to attract attention to the plight of Palestinian healthcare workers, who persist under constant attacks by the Israeli army.

In an interview with Al Jazeera Arabic shortly after the family was targeted, Hind’s mother said she had managed to speak to her and an older cousin, 15-year-old Layan Hamadeh, who was with Hind in the car.

“They are shooting at us. The tank is next to us,” Layan said in a recording released at the time.

Then a barrage of shooting was heard, followed by screams, before the line cut out.

The plight of Hind, revealed in the harrowing audio clips, underlined the impossible conditions for civilians in the face of Israel’s four-month assault on Gaza, which many governments have termed a “genocide”.

Israel’s military has killed nearly 28,000 people – mostly women and children – since October 7 when Hamas fighters attacked Israel, killing more than 1,100 people and taking 253 captives, according to Israeli tallies.

Source: Al Jazeera