July 9 2014 Gaza: Air strikes reported near SOS village SOS Children's Villages CEO calls on Israeli and Palestinian leaders to ensure safety of children in latest outbreak of violence over Palestinian Territories. “The eruption of violence in Israel and the Palestinian Territories again has had a direct impact on the SOS Children’s Village located near Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip. A number of air strikes appear to have targeted locations not far from the village, which has no political affiliation. The SOS children are currently unable to leave the village because of safety concerns. We remind all parties to the conflict to respect their obligation under international human rights law to protect the lives and well-being of children. We trust they will do everything they can to ensure that no harm befalls the SOS Children’s Villages programme and its children.” -- SOS Children's Villages CEO Richard Pichler, 9 July 2014 SOS Children´s Villages operates villages and family strengthening programmes in Israel and the Palestinian Territories. Map: SOS Children´s Villages SOS Children’s Villages Palestinian Territories SOS Children's Villages Rafah is situated about 15 km from the town of Rafah in a village called Deir Sultan in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. The area is densely populated and the town of Rafah is estimated to have around 71,000 inhabitants. Most of the inhabitants are Palestinian refugees. Situation now at SOS Children's Village Rafah Children’s outdoor activities at the SOS village have stopped. 8 SOS mothers, 3 youth leaders, 6 co-workers and 1 village director are now staying inside the village for emergency reasons and for closer coordination of the programmes. General situation of current violence Israel has carried out more than 220 air strikes on the Gaza Strip. Palestinian militants have fired dozens of rockets at Israel. Gaza officials say 35 Palestinians have now died in the recent hostilities, with 150 more injured. Officials say half of the casualties are civilians, a number of them women and children. More than a decade of difficulties The people in the Gaza Strip faced, and continue to face, many difficulties due to the political, social and economic situation. SOS Children’s Villages has contributed to the improvement of living conditions through our programmes in Rafah. We have been supporting families so that children can grow up in loving homes with their parents and siblings. We also run a kindergarten and a primary school in the area.