The report of the French agency in the southern part of the Gaza Strip shocks
“Put my feet back on me”screams Layan al-Baz, 13, every time she is woken up by pain in the hospital bed where she is being treated after her amputation.
The child, who was met by an AFP team at Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, he doesn’t even want to hear about artificial limbs, something very difficult anyway in the Palestinian enclave where even the most basic things for survival are lacking.
“I don’t want artificial legs, I want my legs put back on, they can do it”, complains Layan on her bed in the pediatric ward. Every time she opens her eyes, when the effects of the sedatives wear off, she sees her severed lower limbs covered in bandages.
Her mother, Lamia al-Baz, explains that Layan was injured last week when Khan Younis’ al-Qarara neighborhood was bombed.
Israel, whose political and military leadership says it will “annihilate” Hamas, relentlessly bombards the Gaza Strips in retaliation for the attack launched by the Palestinian Islamist movement on its territory on October 7 with over 1,400 dead, mostly civilians.
Israeli bombings have killed over 10,000 peoplealso mostly civilians, according to the Hamas government’s health ministry.
“How am I going to get back to school when my friends are walking and I’m not?” despairs Layan, full of wounds on her face and hands.
“I will be by your side. Everything will be fine, the future is all in front of you,” her mother tries to reassure her.
The 47-year-old says that the bombing killed two of her daughters, Ichlas and Hitam, and two of her grandchildren, among them an infant a few days old. They were all at the house of Ichla, who had just given birth.
He had to identify them at the morgue. “Their bodies were torn to pieces. I recognized Hitam by her curls and Ihlas by her toes,” he narrates.
“I will be strong”
In the burns unit, Lama al-Agha, 14, and her sister Sarah, 15, who are being treated after a bombing on October 12, are in adjacent beds. Their mother, struggling to hold back her tears, is seated between them.
The bombing killed Sarah’s twin sisterSama, and their little brother, Yahia, the mother explains.
Stitch marks and burn scars can be seen on Lama’s partially shaved skull and forehead.
“When they brought me here, I asked the nurses to help me sit up and that’s when I realized my leg had been amputated,” he says.
“I was in a lot of pain but I thank God I’m still alive. I want to get an artificial limb and continue my studies to make my dream come true, to become a doctor. I will be strong, for me and for my family,” adds Lama al Agha, with a courage and determination that leaves you speechless.
Dr. Nahid Abu Taema, director of Nasser Hospital, explains that in the face of the large number of wounded and the lack of means and medicines, doctors often have no choice but to amputate the injured to prevent complications.
“We are forced to choose between saving patients’ lives or risking their lives trying to save injured legs.”
“Where’s my leg?”
Wearing a green football shirt and matching shorts, Ahmad Abu Shama, 14, flanked by his cousins, walks on crutches in the yard of his now-rubbled home in eastern Khan Younis, where he used to play with his ball .
He was amputated in the right leg after a bombing destroyed his family home, killing six of his cousins and his aunt.
“When I woke up (after the operation) I asked my brother ‘where is my leg?’ He lied to me, said he was fine and I didn’t feel it because of the anesthesia, before my cousin told me the truth the next day,” he recalls.
“I cried a lot. The first thing I thought is that I won’t be able to walk or play football like every day. I was enrolled in an academy a week before the war,” adds the teenager.
He supports Barcelona, while his cousins are devoted Real Madrid fans.
“If I could go back in time and give Ahmed his leg again, I would play for Real, I would become Barcelona like him,” says one of them, Farid.
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