Gaza’s children: ‘Israel is creating a new generation of enemies’

Najia Warshagha, age nine, is a veteran of three conflicts in Gaza. She cannot sleep properly and is always terrified

Harriet Sherwood in Beit Lahiya
The Guardian

Najia Warshagha
Najia Warshagha at her uncle’s house in Beit Lahia, Gaza Strip. She was injured at the UNRWA school, supposedly providing safety for families fleeing the fighting. In the background is her mother Majdolen and injured brother Ali. Photograph: Sean Smith for the Guardian

She seemed to represent the collective suffering of Gaza’s children: a little girl, eyes cast down, a tear edging beneath her lashes, blood smeared over her forehead, anguish written into her face.

Her picture was taken in the aftermath of the shelling of what was supposed to be a refuge from war, a UN school in Jabaliya. “The world stands disgraced,” declared a shocked UN chief after 15 people died and more than 100 were injured.

The girl whose image spread around the world is Najia Warshagha, who at the age of nine is already a veteran of three bloody and devastating conflicts in Gaza. Over four weeks of this war, at least 447 children have been killed and 2,744 injured, according to the UN. Thousands more – Najia among them – are deeply traumatised.

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