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US calls six-year-old Gaza girl death 'heartbreaking,' urges Israeli probe

By AFP

February 13, 2024 12:15 AM


The United States on Monday called the death of six-year-old Gaza girl Hind Rajab, who was last heard pleading alone for help, "heartbreaking" and urged ally Israel to ensure an investigation and accountability.

Hind's body was recovered on Saturday along with those of two relatives and two Red Crescent workers who went to find her.

She was last heard from more than two weeks earlier in a desperate phone call to the Red Crescent -- telling them "I'm so scared" -- after she was left alone when her family's car came under fire trying to flee Gaza City from an Israeli advance.

"It is just a devastating account, a heartbreaking account, for this child, and of course there have been thousands of other children who have died as a result of this conflict," State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters.

"Every one of them is a tragedy that I know, I can tell you, everyone in the United States government feels quite deeply," he said.

"We have asked the Israeli authorities to investigate this incident on an urgent basis. We understand that they are doing so," he said.

"We expect to see those results (in) a timely fashion, and they should include accountability measures as appropriate," he said.

The United States is the primary diplomatic and military supporter of Israel, which launched a massive military campaign in Hamas-ruled Gaza after Hamas fighters infiltrated Israel on October 7 and carried out the country's deadliest-ever attack.

Some 1,160 people, mostly civilians, died in the October 7 attack, according to an AFP tally based on official figures.

At least 28,340 people have died in the Israeli campaign in the Gaza Strip, mostly women and children, according to the health ministry in the Hamas-run territory.

While defending Israel's right to attack Hamas, President Joe Biden's administration has repeatedly pleaded with Israel to do more to reduce the toll on civilians and to allow further humanitarian aid.

Hind's mother, Wissam Hamada, blamed the girl's death on "unbelievers" Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Joe Biden "and all those who conspired against Gaza and its people."

"I will question before God on Judgment Day those who heard my daughter's cries for help and did not save her," she told AFP.


AFP


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