As casualty figures continue to rise in Gaza, the conflict hasn’t taken Aasef Abu Mahadi’s smile, ITV News’ Sejal Kaira reports
A young Palestinian boy who had his leg amputated after an Israeli airstrike received a video call from his idol, Moroccan football player Yassine Bounou.
In Gaza, limbs are lost and lives are changed in an instant as the Israeli bombardment of the enclave continues into the seventh week.
But as casualty figures continue to rise, the conflict hasn’t taken Aasef Abu Mahadi’s smile despite doing its best to rob him of his dreams to become a professional footballer.
He used to play at his neighbourhood club as the team’s goalkeeper, but the joys of his childhood have been replaced by the brutality of bombs.
The 11-year-old was playing with his friends when an airstrike hit, now he is forced to practice his skills on-screen from his hospital bed.
“I was hit, I lost one leg and the other was broken and pinned,” he said.
He explained that on his phone he plays as a striker, but that he “keeps an eye on the goalkeeper so I know when to try and score a goal”.
Aasef is determined to defy the odds and play just like his footballing idol Bounou, the goalkeeper for Morocco’s National team.
“I will keep trying to play football and become a player just like Yassine Bounou,” he added.
“I love him, I adore him, he is very humble and that’s what me love him more”
Bounou, who saved two penalties for Morocco during a crucial 2022 World cup game in Qatar, surprised his fan with a video call.
“One of my dreams came true – to talk to Yassine Bounou,” Aasef said through tears.
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