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Baby twins born during war buried after dying in Israeli air strike

The mother of the twins holds their bodies Credit: Haitham Imad/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

A pair of baby twins who were born during the war in Gaza were buried on Sunday after being killed in an Israeli air strike.

Wesam and Naeem Abu Anza were the youngest of 14 members of the same family whom Gaza health authorities say were killed in the strike on Rafah, a town in southern Gaza that had originally acted as a refuge for people fleeing other parts of the territory.

Aged about four months old, the twins had never lived in peacetime.

At the funeral, their mother Rania Abu Anza wept as she held one of the babies to her cheek. “My heart is gone,” said Ms Abu Anza, whose husband was also killed.

She resisted when asked to release the body ahead of burial. “Leave her with me,” she said.

The twins – a boy and a girl – were among five or six children reportedly killed in the strike on the family house. They were Ms Abu Anza’s first children – she said she had given birth to them after a decade of fertility struggles and several rounds of IVF.

Twins born a month into the war

The strike hit the house at around 11.30pm, shortly after she had gone back to sleep after feeding the babies.

“We were asleep, we were not shooting and we were not fighting. What is their fault? What is their fault?” the mother said. “How will I continue to live now?”

Relatives said the twins were born about a month into the war that began on Oct 7, after Hamas militants attacked civilians in Israel.

Since then, Israeli strikes have regularly hit crowded family homes, which it blames on Hamas positioning fighters in dense residential areas. The Gaza health ministry said last month that more than 12,300 Palestinian children and young teens had been killed in the war.

The Israeli military does not usually comment on individual strikes, and did not immediately comment on this one. Relatives insist that no militants were present at the home.

Rafah had initially been declared a safe zone back in October and 1.5 million people are believed to have sought refuge there from other parts of the Gaza strip.

But Israel now says it must take the city in order to ensure the destruction of Hamas. The US has said it opposes an attack on Rafah unless plans are made to evacuate the civilian population.

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