Just two months shy of her 10th birthday, Ghadeer Jaber Mokheimer died today of injuries sustained when, sitting in a United Nations school, she was hit by gunfire from an Israeli military position in the Gaza Strip, the UN relief agency helping Palestinians reported.
The fifth grade pupil, shot yesterday at the school in the refugee camp at Khan Younis, is the second youngster in recent weeks to die after being hit by gunfire while attending a UN-run school in Gaza. Ten-year-old Raghda Adnan Al-Assar died on 22 September, two weeks after being struck unconscious by a bullet to the head.
Peter Hansen, Commissioner-General of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), decried the deaths, calling them "horrific by anyone's standards." He also pointed out that beyond the campuses of educational facilities, "the pace of child deaths in Gaza has been accelerating terribly in recent weeks."
Almost every day, Mr. Hansen said, "The most basic of the rights of the child - to life - is now being violated."
UNRWA has repeatedly called on the Israeli military to stop firing at its schools. There have now been four such incidents in less than two years, which the Agency said was a sign of the Israeli army's indiscriminate and dangerous military tactics in civilian areas.
UNRWA is also concerned that parents are growing increasingly fearful about sending their children to school in Gaza because of the level of violence they experience both during their journeys and once they arrive.