GENEVA: The UN rights chief voiced alarm Thursday at the number of Palestinian children killed and wounded this month and demanded those responsible be brought to account.
Last week, the Israeli air and artillery strikes targeted positions of the Islamic Jihad group.
"Inflicting hurt on any child during the course of conflict is deeply disturbing," Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, said in a statement.
"The killing and maiming of so many children this year is unconscionable."
Her office said 19 Palestinian children had been martyred in Palestine during the recent unrest, taking the total number this year to 37.
The latest child casualty was 10-year-old Liyan al-Shaer, who died in a Jerusalem hospital Thursday from a head wound sustained in the latest round of Gaza violence.
Seventeen children embraced martyrdom during the Gaza hostilities from August 5 to 7, while two more lost their lives on Tuesday in Israeli law enforcement operations in the West Bank.
The UN Human Rights Office OHCHR said that among the 48 Palestinians killed in last week's Gaza conflict, there were at least 22 civilians. They included 17 children.
Of the 360 Palestinians reported injured, nearly two-thirds were civilians, including 151 children, OHCHR said.
Three Gazan children are on life-support systems at a hospital in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, the official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported Thursday.
"In a number of incidents, children were the majority of casualties," Bachelet's office said.
"Launching an attack which may be expected to incidentally kill or injure civilians, or damage civilian objects, in a disproportionate manner to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated, is prohibited," she said.
"Such attacks must stop."
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