Amani Al Derbi, 35, was a hardworking mother and a psychotherapist in the Gaza Ministry of Health. Her mission: to provide comfort to those traumatized by years of conflict.

After the eruption of war in Gaza, UN Women shared Amani’s story of survival in Rafah. At the time—November 2023—Rafah was a place of relative safety amid the Israeli airstrikes and invasion, where Amani was living with her husband Mohammad and four children: Firas, 17; Hanan, 16; Amir, 12; and Mustafa, 11.

As Israel intensifies its military operations in southern Gaza, UN Women has warned of increased death and despair for civilians in Rafah. In recent months, Amani and her family were displaced five times as they desperately sought safety.

But there is no safe place in Gaza. UN Women has received devastating news of an airstrike in the early morning of Tuesday, 7 May, killing Amani and her four children. Mohammad was severely injured but was alive as his family’s sole survivor as of Thursday, 9 May.

Silenced voices: Amani’s death in Gaza​

Amani Al Derbi, center, is seen alongside photos of her four children. Amani and her children were killed in an airstrike in Gaza on 7 May 2024. Photo courtesy of Amani Al Derbi.

When UN Women spoke to Amani in November, she mourned the loss of her friend Lamia, and expressed concern for her son Firas’ future, saying, “The dreams and aspirations of my children have been condensed into a singular, fervent plea: to survive.”

The deaths of Amani, Lamia, and thousands of other women and their children shows that the war on Gaza is also a war on women—on mothers, daughters, sisters, doctors, leaders, and more. Each life lost is not just a number, but a voice crushed, a future snuffed out.

The international community has lost its “moral compass” when it comes to Gaza, lamented United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed in April. More than 10,000 women have been killed by Israeli forces since 7 October, and more than 19,000 have been injured. Dozens of mothers have been killed every day.

The war may have ended Amani’s story, but her strength, spirit, and power will live on.

UN Women continues to call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

Amani Al Derbi is seen with her children. Photo courtesy of Amani Al Derbi.


  • Conflict, war
  • Peace and security

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