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Lives of 600,000 kids at risk as Israeli war machine rages in Gaza: UNICEF

Palestnian children sit on their family's belongings upon arrival in Khan Yunis from Rafah on May 28, 2024. (AFP)

The United Nations Children’s Fund warns that Israel’s invasion of Rafah has put the lives of more than 600,000 displaced children at risk.

UNICEF’s director of private fundraising and partnerships, Carla Haddad Mardini said in a message on X that many of those children are now malnourished or disabled.

“Rafah is a city of children,” the UNICEF official said Wednesday. “The children in Gaza need a ceasefire now to prevent further suffering.”

Children in Gaza have been killed and maimed by Israeli forces at an unprecedented rate since the regime launched its campaign of death and destruction in the populated territory in early October.

More than 14,000 kids have so far been killed, according to the latest estimate by the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

Around 1.7 million people in the Gaza Strip are estimated to have been internally displaced – half of them children, who do not have enough access to water, food, fuel and medicine.

And since Israel's military forces launched the incursion in Rafah in early May, access to healthcare has been even more devastated, according to Rik Peeperkorn, the World Health Organization's representative in the Palestinian territories.

If Israel continues the offensive in the border town, "substantial" increases in deaths can be expected, he warned.

Peeperkorn also said he was becoming increasingly worried about malnutrition in the south, where Israel's military campaign is already taking a dire toll on children's health.

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