How a 6-year-old survived Israeli strike that killed her mother, siblings, shattered house

Six-year-old Suzy Eshkuntana awakened alone in Gaza’s largest hospital the place she was rushed by rescuers from the rubble of her dwelling, which had been wrecked by a pre-dawn Israeli strike that killed her mom and all 4 of her siblings.

The younger lady, trapped for seven hours below the particles, was reunited in Shifa hospital with her father, who was additionally being handled for his wounds.

“Forgive me, my daughter. You screamed to me to come to you, but I couldn’t come,” Riyad Eshkuntana advised her after medics introduced them collectively in adjoining beds.

The Palestinian household’s dwelling was hit in Israeli air strikes early on Sunday on Gaza City, a wave of assaults that Gaza well being officers stated killed 42 folks together with 10 kids and raised the loss of life toll in Gaza from a week of bombardment to 192.

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Israel says it’s attacking the militant Islamist Hamas motion that controls the densely populated Gaza Strip and that together with Islamic Jihad and different militant teams has fired 2,800 rockets in direction of Israeli cities.

Those rocket barrages have killed 10 folks in Israel, together with two kids. They have additionally despatched tens of millions of Israelis scrambling to “safe rooms” and shelters as rocket warning sirens go off in any respect hours of the day and evening.

Riyad Eshkuntana kisses his daughter Suzy’s hand as they’re handled at a hospital. (Reuters)

“The reason we have these casualties is because Hamas is criminally attacking us from civilian neighbourhoods,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu advised U.S. broadcaster CBS.

The strike on the Eshkuntana dwelling was in the identical space as an Israeli strike on a militant tunnel system in Gaza. The collapse of the tunnel system prompted the homes above to break down and led to unintended civilian casualties, the army stated.

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Dozens of rescue employees, law enforcement officials, relations and neighbours gathered on the wreckage of the Eshkuntana house throughout the search and rescue operation.

After a number of hours employees below the collapsed partitions started to chant “Allahu Akbar” – God is biggest – a sign that somebody could be introduced out alive.

Suzy, lined in mud and too weak to boost her head, wept as she was taken to an ambulance.


At the hospital, relations anxiously requested for particulars because the casualties arrived.

“Is this Yehya? It is Yehya?” cried men and women ready on the reception corridor, shortly earlier than medics advised them that the four-year-old boy, Suzy’s brother, was lifeless.

Two of the ladies fainted.

Minutes later, the physique of a lady was rushed in. “They brought Dana. Dana, Dana, are you okay?” they requested. But the younger lady was additionally lifeless, together with one other brother and sister.

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Seeing Suzy with her eyes open introduced a transient second of pleasure earlier than she was rapidly taken away for X-rays. Doctors stated she was bruised however had no extreme accidents, and he or she was delivered to a hospital mattress subsequent to her father.

Riyad Eshkuntana stated he had believed his household have been safe as a result of there have been medical doctors dwelling in the identical constructing, and he had put the youngsters in what they believed to be a protected room.

“Suddenly, a strange rocket, like fire and flame, destroyed two walls,” he advised Reuters. The mother and father ran to test on their kids when a second explosion hit, collapsing the ceiling.

“I heard my son Zain calling: ‘Daddy, daddy’. His voice was okay, but I couldn’t turn to look at him because I was trapped,” he stated.

When rescuers first known as out for survivors, Eshkuntana was too weak to shout again, however when somebody returned half an hour later he was capable of get their consideration.

Lying on the hospital mattress subsequent to his surviving daughter, his head bandaged, he stated at first he had wished to die.

“I used to be crammed with all of the anger of the universe, however after I heard that one in every of my daughters was alive, I stated thank God as a result of this lady may seize some – even a little – of my daughters’ smile as a result of she is their sister.

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