War’s trauma apparent in portraits of Gazan children

Gaza City, Jul 21 (AP):
Suzy Ishkontana clings to her new toys and clothes, but mostly to her dad. For hours, they were separated under the rubble of their family’s home. Now she cannot bear to be apart. More than two months have passed since rescue workers pulled the 7-year-old from the ruins, her hair matted and dusty, her face bruised and swollen.
The sole survivors of the family, she and her father heard the fading cries of her siblings buried nearby. Suzy’s mother, her two brothers and two sisters — ages 9 to 2 — died in the May 16 Israeli attack on the densely packed al-Wahda Street in Gaza City. Israeli authorities say the bombs’ target was Hamas tunnels; 42 people died, including 16 women and 10 children. Altogether, 66 children were killed in the fourth war on the Gaza Strip — most from precision-guided Israeli bombs, though in one incident Israel alleges a family was killed by Hamas rockets that fell short of their target. And then there are countless others, like Suzy, who bear the scars. My kids who died and my wife, they are now in a safe place and there is no worry about them, but my greater fear is for Suzy, says her father, Riad Ishkontana.
With schools shuttered due to the war, the coronavirus and the summer hiatus, Gaza’s children have little to keep them occupied as they wade through the wreckage. Most are poor; more than half the population lived in poverty before the pandemic and war wiped out more jobs.

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