Affidavit No. 4122/2008

Sworn Statement

After having been warned to tell the truth and nothing but the truth or else I shall be subjected to penal action, I, the undersigned, ‘Ahed ‘Abd-al-Rahman Muhammad ‘Ali ‘Atallah of Palestinian nationality, holder of ID No. 934199233, born on 4 November 1963, unemployed and a resident of al-Yarmouk quarter, Gaza Governorate, would like to declare the following:

On Saturday 1 March 2008, at approximately 5:00 pm, as I was standing in front of my home located in the vicinity of al-Bukhari Mosque in al-Yarmouk quarter east of Gaza, I saw two Israeli military planes soaring over Gaza city. All of a sudden I heard a very strong explosion close to where I was standing. As a result of the explosion, windows broke and rubble spread all over. After a few moments, the explosion was followed by another one of the same strength.

I looked towards the house of my father and brothers which was about 80 metres away from my home to the west and I saw smoke ascending from their house. I hurried to my father’s house, which was completely demolished and burning. Smoke was spreading all over the place. It is worth noting that I had visited my family’s house on the same day at 2:00 pm and talked to my father, mother, my two sisters, Ibtisam and Raja’, the wives of my brothers Khaled and Ibrahim, and their seven children, who were all in the house.

Seeing the demolition and fire, I started screaming “my family died”. I was in a hysterical state. 10 minutes after the two explosions, relief teams and the Civil Defence teams and cars arrived at the place and started searching for my family members among the debris of the house. The house consisted of a total area of 230 square metres, including eight rooms and other utilities on two floors, and had 13 persons living in it, including seven children.

As we were searching for my family members, I saw my 34 year old brother Khaled. His body was cut in pieces and was buried under the debris. I recognised him by his clothes and his features. Two persons from the relief team came to carry his corpse and parts to the ambulance. The team, my cousins and the inhabitants of the quarter continued searching for the other lost members of my family. After 15 minutes, one of the relief teams found my 65 year old father, ‘Abd-al-Rahman ‘Ali ‘Atallah, who was lying on the ground in the debris, six metres away from the boundaries of the house. My father was torn into parts. I also recognised him by his clothes. Two team members came and carried him to the ambulance.

The search for the remaining family members continued and the team found my sister, Raja’, who was 32 years old, lying under the debris. She was bleeding from her head and her body was cut into parts. I recognised her by the features of her face which were very clear. The helpers carried her to the ambulance while other team members and the inhabitants of the quarter continued searching for the other members of my family.

After 20 minutes, the Civil Defence Team found my brother Ibrahim, 36 years old, whose body was torn into pieces. I recognised him by his clothes. As for the other family members, the Civil Defence members were able to save the life of my brother Khaled’s wife, who is 25 years old, as well as her son Anas, who was only 21 days old. They also rescued the wife of my brother Ibrahim and her four children: Mu’tasem, 9 years old, Sumayya, 10 years old, Islam, 4 years old and Ahmad Yasin, 3 years old, who were all stuck under the rubble.

Meanwhile, my cousins, including my cousin Muhammad ‘Abd Muhammad ‘Atallah, found the sons of my brother Yaser: Muhammad, 25 years old and ‘Ala’, 28 years old, under the debris of their home, which was adjacent to my father’s house that had been targeted by the planes. ‘Ala’, who was seriously hit in his head, was later transferred to one of the Egyptian hospitals due to the seriousness of his injuries, but he died on 9 March 2008.

We all continued searching for my mother and sister, Ibtisam, until 2:00 am of the next day, when the Civil Defence and the Relief Team left the place. As for me, I was extremely exhausted, frustrated and under acute shock. I could not move from my place and remained sitting on the debris of my father’s house. My cousins and the residents of
the quarter stayed with me. At 7:30 am the next morning, the Civil Defence, the Relief Team and the ambulances came back and started searching among the rubble for the remaining lost people, namely my mother Sana’ Rajab Mustafa ‘Atallah, 60 years old, and my sister Ibtisam, 30 years old. At 10:30 am, the teams found the corpses of both my mother and sister, which were torn into pieces. The teams covered their bodies with white cloths and transported them to the ambulance to join the funeral of my father, two brothers Khaled and Ibrahim and my sister Raja’. The funeral set out from al-Shifa’ Hospital in Gaza city and the victims were buried in Sheikh Radwan Cemetery.

The Israeli occupation army carried out this massacre when two of its military planes shelled the house of my family with three rockets: two of them had detonated while the third one was found outside the house and had not detonated. The Israeli shelling resulted, without any mercy, in the demolition of my father’s house over the heads of its residents, killing seven persons: my father, mother, brothers Ibrahim and Khaled, sisters Raja’ and Ibtisam and my nephew ‘Ala’ Yaser ‘Atallah, while also wounding eight other family members, including five children.

It is worth noting that the area in which my father’s house was located was quiet and calm and there were no fighters or armed men in the surrounding areas. All my family members are innocent and civilians. I appeal to all the legal and human rights organisations and all the honest people of the world not to save any efforts in suing the Israeli occupying army before international courts and all parties concerned in the protection of civilians. The Israeli occupying army committed a flagrant war crime in cold blood against my unarmed civilian family members.

Affidavit Details

  • Affidavit Number: 4122/2008
  • Field researcher: Mohammad Abu Rahmah
  • Affidavit Date: 9 March 2008
  • Name: ‘Ahed ‘Abd-al-Rahman Muhammad ‘Ali ‘Atallah
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