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Girl, 6, found dead after calling for help in Gaza

Relatives have found the body of a 6-year-old Palestinian girl who had begged Gaza rescuers to send help after being trapped by Israeli military fire, along with the bodies of five of her family members and two ambulance workers who had gone to save her.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society accused Israel of deliberately targeting the ambulance it sent to rescue Hind Rajab after she had spent hours on the phone to dispatchers begging for help with the sound of shooting echoing around.

“The occupation deliberately targeted the Red Crescent crew despite prior coordination to allow the ambulance to arrive at the site to rescue Hind,” the Red Crescent said in a statement.

Israel’s military did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment on the Red Crescent statement.

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

The Palestine Red Crescent Society released a photo of the ambulance which was almost completely burned out.

Al Jazeera footage of the scene appeared to show the ambulance only steps away from the car they said the family was in, a damaged black car filled with bullet holes.

The incident involving Hind, revealed in audio clips of her terrified conversation with rescue workers 12 days ago, underlined the dire conditions for civilians in the face of Israel’s four-month assault on Gaza.

The war began on 7 October when Hamas fighters attacked Israel, killing 1,200 people and abducting 253 hostages according to Israeli tallies.

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Israel’s military has since overrun most of the Palestinian enclave under an intense bombardment in a conflict that has killed nearly 28,000 people, according to Gaza health authorities.

During the course of the war, the Israeli military has said it takes steps to avoid civilian casualties.

It has faced strong international criticism over the toll of dead and injured.

The audio clips released by the Red Crescent earlier this month recorded a call to dispatchers that was first made by Hind’s teenage cousin Layan Hamadeh, saying an Israeli tank was approaching before shots rang out and she screamed.

Believed to be the only survivor, Hind stayed on the line for three hours with dispatchers, who tried to soothe her as they prepared to send an ambulance.

“Come and get me,” Hind was heard crying desperately in another audio recording.

“I’m so scared, please come,” she said.

After deciding it was safe to approach the area, the dispatchers sent an ambulance with two crew, Youssef Zeino and Ahmed Al-Madhoon.

Contact was soon lost with both the ambulance team and Hind, leaving their families, colleagues and many around the world concerned about their fate.

“While we continue to look into exactly what happened, we want to reiterate that civilians must be protected – no child should ever be terrified for their life, surrounded by the bodies of their family members,” a spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) told Reuters

“That these were potentially Hind’s last moments is devastating and unbearable.”

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