Six-Year-Old Gaza Girl Found Dead Days after Phone Calls for Help

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The last time Hind Rajab had been seen was about two weeks ago when she was surrounded by dead relatives after becoming trapped in the vehicle as they tried to flee Gaza City as Israeli forces advanced.

A six-year-old Palestinian girl who went missing last month after an Israeli tank targeted their family car in war-ravaged Gaza was found dead on Saturday, along with several of her relatives and two paramedics dispatched to look for them.

Hind Rajab was fleeing the city with her aunt, uncle, and three cousins when the black Kia car they were travelling in appeared to have come face to face with Israeli tanks, and come under fire.

Audio recordings of calls between Hind and emergency call operators suggest that the girl was the only one left alive in the car, hiding from Israeli forces among the bodies of her relatives.

In one of the recordings – shared publicly by the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) – Hind said: “I’m so scared, please come. Please call someone to come and take me.”

She was heard crying desperately in the call that PRCS said lasted three hours in an effort to calm the frightened child.

But Hind’s pleas for someone to rescue her ended when the phone line was cut amid the sound of more gunfire. All members of her family are believed to have been killed before her, leaving her terrified in the car with the dead bodies of her loved ones.

The recordings sparked a campaign to find out what had happened to her.

The PRCS and Hind’s family confirmed Saturday that all seven people inside the car were killed, with the Palestinian relief organisation saying it lost crew members Yusuf Zeino and Ahmed al-Madhoun in the Israeli attack on civilians in Gaza City.

Family members found Hind’s body along with those of her uncle, aunt and their three children near a roundabout in the city’s Tal al-Hawa suburb, the Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.

Another of Hind’s uncles, Sameeh Hamadeh, said the car was peppered with bullet holes.

A few metres away were the remains of another vehicle – completely burnt out, its engine spilling onto the ground. This, the PRCS said, is the ambulance sent to fetch Hind.

“The [Israeli] occupation deliberately targeted the ambulance upon its arrival at the scene, where it was found just metres away from the vehicle containing the trapped child Hind,” the PRCS’ statement said.

“Despite prior coordination to allow the ambulance to reach the location to rescue the child, Hind, the [Israeli] occupation deliberately targeted the Palestine Red Crescent ambulance crew.”

The health ministry in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip also confirmed Hind's death, saying in a statement: “She was killed by (Israeli) occupation forces with all those who were with her in the car outside the petrol station in Tel al-Hawa.”

The Israeli army had earlier said it was not aware of the incident.

Israeli forces have killed nearly 28,000 people in Gaza – mostly women and children – since Hamas fighters attacked Israel on October 7, killing about 1,160 people and taking 253 others captives, according to Israeli tallies.