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After surviving an Israeli air strike, Palestinian boy dies seeking aid

April 17, 2024 at 1:49 pm

Parachutes filled with aid boxes float down as planes drop humanitarian aid around various regions in the northern Gaza, Gaza on March 09, 2024. [Omar Qattaa – Anadolu Agency]

When an Israeli air strike destroyed his family’s home in November, Zein Oroq was pinned under rubble. He was wounded but survived, while 17 members of his extended family died.

But Zein, 13, would later suffer a cruel fate in Gaza, where Palestinians face severe shortages of medicine, food and water in a deepening humanitarian crisis which the EU has described as a “man-made famine” which has resulted from Israel’s complete siege of the enclave.

The population of the tiny enclave, which Israel has been bombing for more than six months, is at risk of famine.

Last week, during an air drop of aid, the teenager was struck by one of the packages as he rushed to try to get a can of fava beans, some rice or flour.

13-year-old Zein Oroq, died during an air drop of aid in Gaza on 14 April 2024 [esraagaber96/X]

“The first time, when the house was hit by a strike, he came out from under the rubble with wounds in his head, hand and leg, God saved him,” said Zein’s grandfather, Ali Oroq.

Standing by a large pool of wastewater, Ali recalled how Zein would swim in a pond to get a meal from the air drops, and how he should have been sitting at a desk in school getting an education instead.

But, with mediators failing to secure a truce and Israel braced to expand its war into the southernmost city of Rafah, rendering the entire Strip a wasteland, his luck eventually ran out.

“While parachutes were falling, an aid box hit his head, also the stampede of people who were heading towards the box did not pay attention to the boy – they were also hungry,” said his father Mahmoud.

“So, his head was cut and wounded, he got fractures in the pelvis, skull and abdomen and with the flow of people, the pressure increased on him.”

Zein was taken to hospital, where he succumbed to his wounds on Sunday.

“My son is so precious, he was my support, my entire life, my first joy in this world, my biggest child, may he rest in peace,” said Mahmoud.

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