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Source: United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
9 April 2005

Deputy Executive Director response to killing of three children in Gaza

JERUSALEM, 9 April 2005  –  The UNICEF Deputy Executive Director, Mr. Toshiyuki Niwa, condemned the fatal shooting of three Palestinian children on Saturday while at play in the southern Gaza Strip.

“This sad event hits me particularly hard because I been in the area just a few hours earlier, interacting with Palestinian children.

“I condemn the killing of these three youngsters while they were playing football with their friends. These kids were just being kids when their lives were cut short.”

The three boys – two aged 14 and one 17 –  were reportedly killed by Israeli Defence Force bullets while they were chasing a football near Gaza’s border with Egypt.

Mr. Niwa, who was in Rafah to launch a joint polio campaign between UNICEF and the Ministry of Health and also visited safe play zones for children shortly before the incident occurred, underscored that areas that children play and learn in must be treated as zones of peace.

“Sometimes it seems that no matter what we do to provide children with safe and peaceful alternatives they end up victims in this terrible conflict.”

As of mid-March 2005, more than 800 children under the age of 18 have been killed due the conflict, including 696 Palestinians and108 Israelis.

According to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, children have the right to a safe environment for play and learning and have a right to be protected from violence.


For more information, please contact:

Michael Bociurkiw
Communications Officer
UNICEF OPT - E Jerusalem
Tel : (972) 2-583-0013 (ext 242)
Fax: (1) 416-352-5068
Mobile : (972) 577-293214
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