Habiba (8) was sitting at home painting and watching the news with her family when she was killed by Israeli airstrikes that hit her home in Gaza City.
“She was carrying a colouring brush, not a weapon,” Habiba’s mother Feda’a says. “My heart is broken and my eyes are full of tears.”
According to the latest figures by health officials in Gaza on November 8, at least 4,324 children have been killed in the Israeli bombardment since October 7. Thousands more are missing or have been injured. At least 28 children were killed by Hamas in their attack on Israeli civilians.
About half of Gaza’s 2.3 million population are children. Since October 7, they have lived under constant bombardment, with many packed into temporary shelters in UN-run schools after fleeing their homes with little access to food, clean water or medical supplies.
In Gaza, a child aged 15 has experienced five periods of intense bombardment in their life: 2008-9, 2012, 2014, 2021 and now 2023.
“When the war started, Habiba’s little body was shaking all the time because of the sounds of the bombings and rockets,” Feda’a says.
“On the day she died, she had collected her colours and brushes and she was drawing the television telling the news of the war and the flag of Palestine. An hour later, Habiba was killed in a brutal attack against her home, without any fault.”
“Habiba was in third class and she was so clever. She wanted to be a doctor when she grew up. They killed her dreams and they deprived me from enjoying the light of my beautiful moon.”
Feda’a, who worked for Trócaire partner the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, calls on the international community to demand an end to the war on Gaza.
“Please stop all of this. The piece of my heart Habiba has gone and I don’t want more mothers to go through what I am going through,” Feda’a says. “Please stop these massacres against the children of Gaza.”
On October 19, Viola (26) an aid worker with Trócaire partner agency Caritas Jerusalem, and her infant daughter and husband were killed in an Israeli airstrike attack on the St. Porphyrios Church in Gaza.