Dutch woman stranded in Gaza is killed in bombing raid

Palestinians look for survivors after further bombing on Sunday. Photo: AP Photo/Hatem Moussa

A 33-year-old Dutch woman has been killed in an explosion in Gaza, the foreign affairs ministry confirmed on Sunday.

Islam al-Ashqar was visiting relatives at the Nusairat refugee camp in central Gaza and was one of 22 Dutch nationals the ministry was trying to help leave, broadcaster NOS said.

According to news agency AP, Israel bombed the local evening market in the camp on Saturday night but it is unclear as yet if Al-Ashqar was killed in that blast. Broadcaster NOS said it is trying to verify the circumstances surrounding her death.

Al-Ashqar had travelled to Gaza with her husband and four sons to visit relatives before the Hamas attacks in southern Israel took place.

Son Mohammed, who is 16 and lives in Doorn, near Utrecht, told NOS last week by video link about the efforts the family was making to try to leave Gaza via the border with Egypt at Rafah. He was also interviewed by RTL Nieuws.

Prime minister Mark Rutte described news of her death as “very sad” and said on social media the Netherlands is in contact with the Israeli authorities to find out more.

Foreign affairs minister Hanke Bruins Slot said her thoughts were with the rest of the family. “We are continuing to do all we can to ensure they can leave Gaza safely.”

The woman was one of 22 Dutch nationals in Gaza that the Netherlands is providing consular assistance to, she said. A number of them are minors, RTL Nieuws reported.

It is two weeks since the bloody Hamas attacks on Israel killing more than 1,400 people and taking some 200 hostage. Palestinian officials in Gaza say more than 4,600 Palestinians have been killed since then, including over 1,000 children.


There were demonstrations in support of Palestinine in several places in the Netherlands on Sunday, including Amsterdam and Rotterdam, where about 5,000 people had gathered.

On Saturday there were also demonstrations in The Hague, Maastricht and a number of other towns and cities.

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