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The Gaza Massacre: Eyewitness stories from Ground Zero
Friday, July 26, 2002

On Monday night, July 22nd. the residents of Al Daraj area , located in central Gaza City, experienced the devastation of the explosion of a one tone 都mart bomb・ released by an Israeli F16 war jet on the densely populated area. The tragic event resulted into 16 dead civilians, among them 9 children and six of them come from one family.

At this moment, the entire neighborhood is wrapped up into rubbles; destruction, agony, injuries and the loss of loved ones.

The following is first hand eyewitness stories, told by victims and rescuers.

The story of Nabeel Al Ssaidi Family

Nabeel is 30 years old and lives in a house, which accommodates two other brothers each with his own family. In Palestinian society, Many Palestinian homes normally consist of three to four floors in which the parents live in the ground floor and each son and his family occupies the upper floors. That would be considered a regular domestic arrangement for the majority of Palestinian families, especially in Gaza Strip.

As for Nabeel, the night of the bombing, he was spotted live on one TV Network News. The TV showed home covered with dust when Nabeel was looking for his family members among the mounting rubbles resulting from the explosion.

15 hours later after the explosion, Nabeel still looked exhausted and disoriented. His lips still had dry blood spots on them. His hair looked almost white from the amount of dust on it. Nabeel sat in front of a room, which was supposed to be the guests room・ but this time it had no walls. The walls were blown up to pieces.

Nabeel started, ・I was sitting with my family, including my brother and mother on the roof of the house. You know it is summer and normally we sit on the flat roof because it is cool.・

Nabeel paused a little to collect himself and continued, ・ all of a sudden we found ourselves flown up and thrown on the floor. There were a lot of flying debris and burning sharpeners everywhere. I looked around and I saw every member of my family laying on the floor with blood. We tried to go downstairs and to look for my father in the TV room. He was the only one in the ground floor.・

Nabeel added,・I looked for my father in the TV room but first I could not see him. There was so much rubbles, dust, bent wires and flying furniture. A minute later, I found my father on the other side of the room with pieces of metal sharpeners in his head.・

Nabeel stopped talking , looked the other side and said, ・ Now, father is being treated in the Intensive Care Unit at the hospital. I do not know if he will make it.・

At this moment, Khalid, the older brother , looking more exhausted and totally devastated, approached our place and said, ・my leg is broken. My sister's body is covered with metal pieces from the bomb. She will need many surgeries to clean her body. My brothers・children are all in the hospital; in the intensive care unit. ・

Khalid explained how his wife and children were lucky that night. He said, ・that night my wife decided to visit her parents in another part of Gaza City. She took the children to spend the night with their grandparents. My apartment is the most devastated one in our building. If my wife and children were here, I am sure they would have killed. But they were saved.・

Khalid described how terrible it was when he found his father downstairs with a piece of the bomb in his head. ・We were searching for him under the rubbles.・Said Khalid.

The younger brother Nabeel added, ・What matters to me is the safety and recovery of our children and the rest of the family.・And he said, ・I only complain to GOD.・

The story of Hussam

Hussam is a 20 years old Palestinian man who comes from another area near the bombed out Al Daraj one. Hussam described in his words what he saw. He said, ・When I heard the explosion, immediately I phoned my best friend at his home in Al daraj area. There was no answer at all. So I got very worried and deiced to rush to the area to ask about my friend and help him.・ Hussam added, ・I ran to the place. As soon as I arrived, I found my friend busy rescuing victims. First, I was relieved to see him alive. At once, I began rescuing people with my friend.・/P>

Hussam, a university student, talked about the most painful thing he came across. He said,・It was when I found a two months old baby, named Ayman, dead on the chest of his dead mother.・Hussam added, ・I think the baby was breastfeeding from his mother at the time of explosion. I found both the baby and mother dead. There was no sign of life at all from both of them. They died together. So, my friend and I carried the baby and the mother to the nearest ambulance car. ・/P>

Hussam continued describing what he went through that night. He said,・We kept rescuing people till six O団lock in the morning. We saw people whom their bodies were blown up to many pieces. There were bones, legs, and arms everywhere. One time, I called out for my friend to help carry the remains of flesh and blood. When my friend saw that, he fainted. At this moment, I did not know whom to rescue; my fainted friend or the victims.

As he was speaking, Hussam paused and looked again at the huge pile of rubbles in front of us and commented,・I say to America, ・do not you fear GOD・ You send your weapons to kill innocent children. Haram ( have some compassion).・

One 14 year old boy, Rami, was standing next to us and listening to Hussam's story. He also wanted to make a comment, which sounded like it was coming from an old man. He said, ・It was not worth it to send a big missile in order to hit a crowded area like this one. As you see here, Americans and Israelis have murdered many children. Do not you have any mercy and compassion.・

Another boy, 15-year-old Mohammad, talked about his own rescue efforts the night before. He said, 的 could not rescue any body, but I found many fingers, pieces of flesh and even eyes.・

Hussam and his friends looked deeply affected by the tragic attack. Many of those kids seemed to be profoundly and sadly influenced by this terrible tragedy, especially with the death of their friends and neighbors.

Reported by B. Samed

July 26th. 2002

Gaza City, Palestine


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