Palestinian girl found dead weeks after begging for help, with Israel accused of killing family and rescuers

Gaza City, Gaza - Six-year-old Hind Rajab pleaded to be rescued, after her family's car came under fire by Israeli forces in Gaza City, leaving her alone, frightened and injured, surrounded by the bodies of her dead relatives.

Six-year-old Hind Rajab was found dead two weeks after pleading for help as the Palestine Red Crescent Society accused Israel of killing her, her family, and rescue workers.
Six-year-old Hind Rajab was found dead two weeks after pleading for help as the Palestine Red Crescent Society accused Israel of killing her, her family, and rescue workers.  © Collage: REUTERS & via REUTERS

"I am so scared," she had said in a desperate phone call to the Palestine Red Crescent Society. "Call someone to come get me, please."

But after more than two weeks of frantic efforts to reach her, Hind's body was only recovered on Saturday, alongside relatives, and two PRCS rescue workers sent to find her.

The aid agency and Gaza's health ministry confirmed the grim discovery, and blamed Israeli forces.

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Hind's highly publicized case comes as aid agencies warn that children and families are bearing the brunt of Israel's assault on Gaza, with accusations of war crimes and potential genocide growing louder each day.

Children are dying "at an alarming rate," the UN children's agency UNICEF said.

At least 28,000 people have been killed and many more injured, with others at risk because of a lack of food, water, and medicine as Israel continues to block vital humanitarian aid.

Israel accused of "deliberately" targeting ambulance workers

Hind Rajab managed to get in touch with the Palestine Red Crescent Society after her family members were killed in an alleged Israeli strike.
Hind Rajab managed to get in touch with the Palestine Red Crescent Society after her family members were killed in an alleged Israeli strike.  © via REUTERS

Hind was last heard from after becoming trapped in the family's vehicle with other relatives as they tried to flee Gaza City from an Israel advance.

"Hind and everyone else in the car is martyred," the girl's grandfather, Baha Hamada, told AFP on Saturday.

A number of family members found them when they went to Gaza City's Tel al-Hawa area looking for the car near a petrol station where it had last been spotted, he said.

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"They were able to reach the area because Israeli forces withdrew early at dawn today," added Hamada, one of the last people to speak to the girl on the telephone.

"She was killed by (Israeli) occupation forces with all those who were with her in the car outside the petrol station in Tel al-Hawa," the ministry said in a statement.

The Palestine Red Crescent said that the Israeli military "deliberately targeted the ambulance upon its arrival at the scene" despite "prior coordination" allowing it through.

"She was frightened, terrified"

Earlier this week, family members had said the group found their way in the path of Israeli tanks and were fired on as they tried to flee. Hind initially survived the shooting and managed to talk to her family by telephone and make an emergency call, which the PRCS published on February 3.

"For over three hours, Hind desperately pleaded for rescue from the occupation (Israeli) tanks surrounding her, enduring gunfire and the horror of being alone, trapped among the bodies of her relatives shot by the Israeli forces in front of her eyes," it added.

Nothing more was then heard from the young girl, even as the ambulance was sent to get her, the organization said. Her grandfather said she was injured in the back, hand and foot.

"She was frightened, terrified," he told AFP, sobbing. "Hind is my first grandchild, she's a piece of my heart."

There was no comment from the Israeli army when contacted by AFP.

Cover photo: Collage: REUTERS & via REUTERS

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