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U.S. 'devastated' by 'heartbreaking' killing of 6-year-old Gazan girl, calls for investigation

Anadolu Agency WORLD
Published February 12,2024
This undated handout photograph obtained courtesy of the family shows six-year-old Palestinian girl Hind Rajab posing for a picture. (AFP Photo)

The U.S. is "devastated" about the "heartbreaking" death of a 6-year-old girl in Gaza, and has called for an urgent investigation into the incident, according to a State Department spokesperson.

"We are devastated about the reports of the death of 6-year-old Hind Rajab," a State Department spokesperson, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Anadolu. "Far too many civilians have been killed in this conflict. Every civilian death in this conflict is a tragedy. The death of a child is particularly heartbreaking."

Citing previous U.S. calls on Israel to "take all possible precautions to prevent civilian harm," protect humanitarian staff, and investigate credible allegations of law of war violations and human rights abuses, the spokesperson said the U.S. asked Israeli authorities to "investigate this incident on an urgent basis."

"We understand the Israeli government is doing so," the spokesperson said. "We expect to see the findings as soon as they are ready, including any appropriate accountability measures that will be taken."

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society said Rajab was trapped in her family car after it came under Israeli army fire in Gaza City and was found dead after nearly two weeks of uncertainty.

In a Friday statement, the aid group said the body of the child, and two of its paramedics, Youssef Zeino and Ahmed Al-Madhoon, who went out on a mission to rescue the little girl, had been found.

Hind was traveling in a car with her family including 15-year-old cousin Layan Hamadeh, fleeing fighting in northern Gaza, when they came under Israeli fire, according to the Red Crescent.

Surrounded by the bodies of relatives, they called for help, and a Red Crescent ambulance was dispatched.

According to the humanitarian group, Layan was killed while speaking to the Red Crescent team by telephone, as gunfire could be heard in the background.

When the team called back, it was Hind who answered, possibly the only survivor in the car. Soon after they lost all contact with the child.