'A lot of dreams are being lost': 5,000 Gazan children feared killed since conflict began

At least 5,000 children are estimated to have been killed in Gaza by Israeli airstrikes in the past month, with more than 4,500 reported dead and around 1,500 missing or presumed dead.

Watch this special report by ITV News' Sejal Karia, produced by Roohi Hasan.

Gaza has become, in just one month, the deadliest conflict for children this century in terms of how quickly so many young lives are being lost - an estimated 136 every day.

It means more children have been reported killed in a single month in Gaza than were killed in 24 global conflicts across the whole of last year - and than children killed in the last 14 years in Iraq.

It is hard to try to come to terms with the full horror of what is happening in this conflict, especially to the children, first in Israel and now in Gaza. 

It is equally hard to understand the distressing reality of the lives that have been cut so brutally short.

Over the past few weeks ITV News has been trying to put names and photographs to some of the many young victims in Gaza.

We wanted to tell some of the stories behind the shocking death toll, to share what these children were like and what they wanted to be, by hearing from their surviving relatives.

Omar just five-months-old. Sabreen two-years-old, her older brother, Mahmoud, four-years-old. Habiba eight-years-old. And Awni 12-years-old.

These are just some of the estimated five thousand children killed by Israeli airstrikes.

In Gaza, the cost of this war is being counted by the numbers of young lives lost.

Just one year ago, Awni could be found on the streets of Gaza City. A young youtuber, who in one video shared online was celebrating the milestone of reaching 1,000 subscribers on his channel.

Awni (pictured) was an aspiring YouTuber. Credit: YouTube / AwniEldous141

He was hoping one day to reach a thousand subscribers. A dream he never lived to see.

And Gaza's becoming a graveyard for children. So many are dying here, that there's little space to bury them.

So, children are being laid alongside their parents and other relatives.

No-one in this conflict has the monopoly on the misery inflicted on children.

Those who survive live with what they've witnessed.

The number of children which have been killed in Gaza is so great that they are being buried alongside their parents and other relatives. Credit: ITV News

It was the day of their shared birthday when an airstrike hit the home of  three-year-old Adam and his sister, Sham, who was nine-years-old.  

Their father, Ayman, told ITV News: "When I arrived at my house the medics were pulling the bodies of my children from under the rubble.

"I couldn't recognise any of them. I didn't want to look at their faces, I was afraid."

Ayman's heavily pregnant wife, Nadreen, was almost full term with their third child, a little girl named Mecca.

Her last words to her husband - to save her baby.

Adam and Sham (pictured) are among the estimated 5,000 children to have been killed by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza. Credit: ITV News

"I found my wife under my feet. I heard her voice just saying to me 'take Mecca out of me'."

Mecca did survive. Only just. She's in a critical condition, but what future is she born into.

For now, a father is willing the last of his children to stay alive.

But the Gazan young that do survive, like Nadin, carry the unseen wounds of war.

Aged just 13, she witnessed her neighbour's baby being pulled dead from under the rubble after a bombardment.

Nadin spoke to ITV News about witnessing her neighbour's baby being found dead after an Israeli airstrike. Credit: ITV News

"The house in front of me right now, a grandmother, a child who is only six months old, were killed there," she told ITV News.

"I started to imagine because of how long she was under that rubbish, they had to get her out the next morning because of how deep she was under the rubbish."

The pain of losing so many children is being felt not just in Gaza, but thousands of miles away, here in Scotland.

Among the many relatives Ibrahim has lost this month was Yazan, who was 13. He is one of around fifty children killed in his family.

An estimated 5,000 Gazan children have been killed by Israeli airstrikes in the past month. Credit: Jewish Voice for Peace

Ibrahim told ITV News: "You see a lovely boy who had a dream of being something big and a missile destroyed all that dream. So, a lot of dreams are being lost under those rubbles.

"How many other children we need to lose before this can be stopped? So that's how people of Gaza are feeling."

The innocent bystanders of a war not of their making who are suffering the most. Children who are dying before they have lived.

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