Three children were burnt to death in a fire in the besieged Gaza Strip on Tuesday. It is believed that the fire was started by candles being used to provide light in the family home during one of the territory's frequent and lengthy power cuts.
Mahmoud, Mohammed, and Yousef Al-Hazeen, the eldest of which was no more than ten years old, were brothers living in Al-Nuseirat refugee camp. They went to bed early on Tuesday because they weren't allowed to play outside due to the coronavirus lockdown.
According to the Ministry of Health in Gaza, the boys were declared to be dead on arrival at Al-Aqsa Hospital. The General Director of the hospital, Kamal Khattab, said that neighbours were unable to rescue the children due to the intensity of the fire.
Palestinian factions expressed their condolences for the tragedy and pointed out that the children were the victims of the brutal occupation and siege imposed by Israel on the Gaza Strip. Local ministry officials said that Israel must take its share of the blame for the children's deaths.
The occupation has prevented sufficient fuel from entering the Strip which means that the sole power station is unable to operate anywhere near full capacity. At the moment, in some areas of Gaza electricity is only available for four hours a day, meaning that many residents have to resort to candles to light their homes. When candles fall over, catastrophic fires can and do start very easily.