Four-Year-Old Gaza Orphan, Traumatized and Injured, Flown to the US for Specialized Treatment

RAFAH, GAZA - MARCH 04 : People inspect damage and recover items from their homes following Israeli air strikes, on March 4, 2024 in Rafah, Gaza.

A young boy from Gaza who tragically lost his parents and sister in an Israeli airstrike has been transported to the US for medical care following the loss of his arm in the explosion.

Family and strangers collaborated to assist Omar Abu Kuwaik in leaving Gaza and traveling to the US, where he has received a prosthetic arm.

Omar and his aunt, Maha Abu Kuwaik, who brought her young nephew to the US, are currently residing in a residence managed by a medical charity in New York.

Maha expressed her joy in supporting her nephew, whom she now considers her fourth child following the loss of his parents.

However, the mother faced a difficult decision – going with Omar to the US meant being separated from her husband and three teenage children in Gaza.

They are currently situated in a vast tent camp in the city of Rafah.

Israel has conducted airstrikes in locations where civilians were instructed to seek shelter, such as Rafah.

Maha fears she may never reunite with her family. Maha mentioned that her kids adore Omar. They informed me, “We are no longer children.”

Please, ensure that Omar receives the necessary treatment. It’s the most beneficial option for him. This is his sole opportunity.”

Omar’s family was forced to leave their apartment in Gaza City during the conflict after it was hit by a bomb, narrowly avoiding a tragic outcome.

They purchased it only a few weeks before the war started. Maha’s apartment, located in the same block, was also affected by the airstrike.

Immediately after becoming homeless, the families chose to separate and stay with different relatives for shelter.

Omar’s Family Tragedy in Gaza: Airstrikes and Rescue

RAFAH, GAZA – MARCH 4: A view of lighting flare fired by the Israeli army at the city of Khan Yunis is seen from Rafah, Gaza as the Israeli attacks continue on March 4, 2024.


Omar and his family visited his grandparents in the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza.

On December 6, two Israeli airstrikes struck the residence where Omar and his family were located, resulting in the tragic loss of his grandparents, parents, sister, aunts, and cousin.

The explosion resulted in Omar’s facial skin peeling off and necessitated the amputation of his left arm below the elbow.

Omar found himself trapped under the debris, but fortunately, rescuers were able to free him and bring him to safety.

He miraculously emerged as the sole survivor of the explosion. Adib Chouiki, the vice president of Rahma Worldwide, a US charity, learned about Omar through the group’s humanitarian team in Gaza.

“According to Adib, anywhere would be a better place for him than being in Gaza,” he stated.

Adib successfully obtained new passports for Omar and Maha, as well as Israeli security clearance for Maha to accompany Omar from Gaza to Egypt.

They were brought to an Egyptian military hospital and had to wait for several weeks before receiving approval to fly to New York on 17 January.

Omar’s physical injuries are improving, but he continues to experience significant emotional distress. Maha mentioned, “I hardly get any sleep.”

When I think of Omar and my children, I can’t help but worry about the living conditions they are enduring in those tents.

Omar was the initial Palestinian child transported from Gaza to the US by the Global Medical Relief Fund, a charity located on Staten Island.

Elissa Montanti, the charity’s founder, has dedicated 25 years to managing the organization and securing free medical assistance for children affected by conflicts or natural disasters, such as those in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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