Children paid heavy price in Gaza conflict

March 9, 2009 at 4:09 PM

GAZA, March 9 (UPI) -- The head of the U.N. Children's Fund said Monday the recent Israeli-Hamas conflict in Gaza resulted in a heavy price being paid by children.

Ann Veneman, UNICEF executive director, on Monday concluded a weeklong trip to Israel and Gaza. Veneman said more than 400 children died in Gaza and in southern Israel during the Israeli military campaign targeting Hamas, the United Nations reported.

During the fact-finding mission, Veneman visited the West Bank, southern Israel and Gaza to see firsthand the burden imposed on children in the region during the conflict. The United Nations estimated that on top of the hundreds of children who died, more than 1,700 were injured during the hostilities.

"Children are the innocent victims of conflict," Veneman said in a statement.

"Schools have been damaged, homes lost and many children carry physical and psychological wounds."

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