Relatives found the body on Saturday of a six-year-old Palestinian girl who had begged Gaza rescuers to send help after being trapped by alleged Israeli military fire, along with the bodies of five of her family members and two ambulance workers who had gone to save her.
The Palestine Red Crescent Society accused Israel of deliberately targeting the ambulance it sent to rescue Hind Rajab after she had spent hours on the phone with dispatchers begging for help with the sound of shooting echoing around.
“The occupation deliberately targeted the Red Crescent crew despite prior coordination to allow the ambulance to arrive at the site to rescue Hind,” the Red Crescent said in a statement.
Israel’s military did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the Red Crescent statement.
Family members found Hind’s body along with those of her uncle and aunt and their three children still in a car near a roundabout in the Tel al-Hawa suburb of Gaza City, the official Palestinian Wafa news agency reported.
Another of Hind’s uncles, Sameeh Hamadeh, said the car was peppered with bullet holes.
The plight of Hind, revealed in harrowing audio clips of her terrified conversation with rescue workers 12 days ago, underlined the impossible conditions for civilians in the face of Israel’s war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
The war began on October 7 when Hamas terrorists attacked Israel under a barrage of rockets, killing 1,200 people and seizing 253 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.
Israel’s military has since overrun most of the Palestinian enclave under an intense bombardment in a conflict that has killed some 28,000 people, according to Hamas-run Gaza health authorities. These numbers cannot be independently verified and are believed to include over 10,000 members of Hamas’s military wing who were killed in battle and Gazans who were killed by misfired rockets.
During the course of the war, the Israeli military has maintained it makes many efforts to avoid civilian casualties, but that these are unavoidable as it fights against terrorists who are embedded within the civilian population and use civilians as human shields.
Israel has nevertheless faced mounting international criticism over the toll of dead and injured.
???????????? « Venez me chercher, j’ai tellement peur »
Hind Rajab n’avait que 6ans. Elle était en voiture avec sa famille pour fuir la mort. Les chars israéliens les arrêtent et assassinent sa famille de sang-froid. Elle sera la seule survivante, tentant d’appeler les secours, mais pas… pic.twitter.com/wI8FEKSMrd
— David Guiraud (@GuiraudInd) February 10, 2024
The audio clips released by the Red Crescent earlier this month recorded a call to dispatchers that was first made by Hind’s teenage cousin Layan Hamadeh, saying an Israeli tank was approaching, before shots rang out and she screamed.
Believed to be the only survivor, Hind stayed on the line for three hours with dispatchers, who tried to soothe her as they prepared to send an ambulance.
“Come and get me,” Hind was heard crying desperately in another audio recording. “I’m so scared, please come.”
What remains of the PRCS ambulance sent to rescue Hind Rajab 12 days ago. The ambulance was bombed by the Israeli occupation, resulting in the deaths of the crew, Yusuf Al-Zeino and Ahmed Al-Madhoun.#Gaza #NotATarget ❌#IHL #TheyKilled_Hind_YousefAndAhmed pic.twitter.com/TrCqRSvZYA
— PRCS (@PalestineRCS) February 10, 2024
After deciding it was safe to approach the area, the dispatchers sent an ambulance with two crew members, Youssef Zeino and Ahmed Al-Madhoon.
Contact was soon lost with both the ambulance team and Hind, leaving their families, colleagues and many around the world concerned about their fate.