Save the Children: 21,000 Gaza Children Missing

The agency believes that 17,000 are separated from their parents, with another 4,000 feared dead and buried under the rubble

Save the Children issued a startling new report suggesting that 21,000 Gazan children are missing as the Israeli onslaught drags on. Aside from those unaccounted for, at least 14,000 children have been confirmed killed.

The report stated that in the chaos of war, it is hard to locate missing children, but some are thought to be separated from their parents while others are buried under the rubble or in mass graves.

“At least 17,000 children are believed to be unaccompanied and separated and approximately 4,000 children are likely missing under the rubble, with an unknown number also in mass graves,” the agency’s press release explained. “Others have been forcibly disappeared, including an unknown number detained and forcibly transferred out of Gaza.”

“No parent should have to dig through rubble or mass graves to try and find their child’s body. No child should be alone, unprotected in a war zone. No child should be detained or held hostage,” said Save the Children’s regional director for the Middle East, Jeremy Stoner. “Gaza has become a graveyard for children, with thousands of others missing, their fates unknown. There must be an independent investigation and those responsible must be held accountable.”

The Gaza Health Ministry reports that children account for 14,000 of the more than 37,000 confirmed Palestinian deaths over the past eight months. Along with death and separation from family members, Gaza’s children are facing numerous other severe challenges.

The spokesman for the UN aid agency for children (UNICEF), James Elder, said in an interview with Democracy Now that Israel’s military operations in Gaza amount to a “war on children.” As the conflict continues, thousands of children are facing a lack of food, water, and medical care that is beginning to become lethal.

The fighting in Gaza is unlikely to end anytime soon. Israeli leadership says it is planning to draw down some forces in the Strip and transition to a more limited phase of warfare. However, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has explained that he will not end operations until Hamas is eliminated, vowing to continue bombings and assassinations against the group.

Kyle Anzalone is the opinion editor of, news editor of the Libertarian Institute, and co-host of Conflicts of Interest.