The father of a four-year-old girl who lost almost her entire family in the Israel-Gaza conflict said his daughter hasn’t spoken since their home was destroyed by a missile because she is in too much shock.
Maria Abu Hatib lost four siblings – Bilal, Mariam, Yusuf and Yamin – and their mother Yasmine in the attack.
Maria’s father survived because he had nipped out to the shops for bread prior to the bombing.
And Maria herself was found on the ground floor of the building, in Gaza.
The group had been celebrating Eid with another family, the Hadidis.
Four of the Hadidi and their mother also perished in the attack, with a total of 10 lives lost, all women and children.
With Maria sitting emotionless on his knee, Alaa Abu Hatib, her father, told Sky News : “Until now she hasn’t spoken a word from the shock and horror.
“She was on the third floor and we found her on the ground floor. We found her down on the floor. She’s still shocked, a little girl what she saw we, as adults, can’t handle it.”
Alaa wasn’t in the family home at the time of the attack, having just left to go to the shops to buy bread, sweets and toys.
He can’t understand why a residential building was a target.
It is not clear whether the destruction of the building was a result of an Israeli airstrike or a misfired Hamas rocket falling short.
The Israeli military claim they have evidence to show that they did not hit the residential block and will release that soon.
The horror of what the people of Gaza have suffered for the past 11 days is impossible to imagine.
Amid fears of a ceasefire end on both sides Gaza is counting the bloody cost of 11 days of cross-border strikes -with 243 Palestinians killed, including 66 children and 1,900 injured.
In Israel 12 people have been killed, including two children and hundreds injured by rocket salvos from Hamas and Islamic Jihad fighters.
Hardline Israelis on Gaza’s border slammed a shaky ceasefire with Palestinian militants – fearing Hamas rocket teams could open fire within days.
Ominously, within hours of the ceasefire Hamas was celebrating the deal as a victory, with Ezzat El-Rechiq, a senior Hamas political bureau man saying:
“It is true the battle ends today but Netanyahu and the whole world should know that our hands are on the trigger and we will continue to grow the capabilities of this resistance.”
Gaza’s civilians have paid a massive price in blood and livelihoods for the Hamas belligerence which has seen an overwhelming Israeli military blitz.
As many as 16,800 homes have been damaged by Israeli warplanes and artillery, Gaza’s infrastructure smashed at a cost of tens of millions of dollars.
Israel’s post-Covid economic recovery has also been battered by the immensely costly war, which has seen both sides accused of war-crimes against civilians.
In Sderot, Israel’s most rocketed town, 75 per cent of the local children have been evacuated from homes, throughout the latest onslaught.
Racheli Abigail, grandmother of five year-old Ido Abigail,the first Israeli child killed in the missile exchanges told the Mirror: “We have lost the most precious thing in the world.”
Ido died last Wednesday when a Hamas rocket smashed into an apartment block next to his and a tiny piece of shrapnel flew through a narrow gap in a protective window he was sheltering behind.
Racheli added: “I am feeling a very strong pain. A child should be allowed to grow up and live a normal life like most other children have done.
“He was a lovely child and I would hate anything like to happen to other children.
“I want all the children in Israel to live quietly.”