ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar said on Monday the world was witnessing a “children’s holocaust” in Gaza by Israel as it continued its attacks on the enclave, calling on the international community to put an immediate end to the “senseless killing.”
Israel has launched a war on Gaza since Oct. 7 after Hamas fighters rampaged through southern Israel, killing 1,200 people and taking some 240 hostages. Israel retaliated by enforcing a strict blockade of the enclave, and carrying out airstrikes and ground attacks that Palestinian officials say have killed around 13,000 people, including at least 5,500 children.
Entire generations of Palestinian families in the besieged Gaza Strip have been killed, from great-grandparents to infants only weeks old. Attacks are occurring at a scale never seen in years of conflict, with Israel hitting schools, hospitals, residential areas, mosques and churches, even striking areas where Israeli forces ordered civilians to flee.
“When I was thinking about this universal Children’s Day, the children of Gaza were coming to my mind, and the children of Gaza were coming to my mind, not intact children, not protected children [but] children who have lost some their arms, some their legs, some they have lost their heads, the corpses are left,” Kakar said, speaking at an event to mark World Children’s Day, which is commemorated on Nov 20 each year.
“And I am just wondering what and how we should name them and name ourselves that how we are witnessing this children’s holocaust. I would term it as a child’s holocaust in that strip of Gaza.”
“Professional militaries fight professional soldiers. Professional militaries do not kill unarmed children,” the PM added. “This appalling and atrocious act has to end ... This children’s holocaust has to stop and it has to stop now.”
On Monday evening, Palestinian authorities said a group of 28 prematurely born babies evacuated from Gaza’s biggest hospital, Al Shifa, were moved to Egypt for urgent care.
Eight infants have died since doctors at Al Shifa originally raised an international alarm this month about 39 premature babies at risk from a lack of infection control, clean water and medicines in the neo-natal ward. Newborns’ incubators were knocked out amid a collapse of medical services during Israel’s military assault on Gaza City.
Live footage aired by Egypt’s Al Qahera TV showed medical staff carefully lifting tiny infants from inside an ambulance and placing them in mobile incubators, which were then wheeled across a car park toward other ambulances.
The babies had been transported on Sunday to a hospital in Rafah, on the southern border of Hamas-ruled Gaza, so their condition could be stabilized ahead of transfer to Egypt.
All of the evacuated babies were “fighting serious infections,” a World Health Organization spokesperson said.
Israeli forces seized Al Shifa last week to search for what they said was a Hamas tunnel network built underneath. Hundreds of patients, medical staff and displaced people left Al Shifa at the weekend, with doctors saying they were ejected by troops and Israel saying the departures were voluntary.
With inputs from Reuters