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Affidavit No. 4119/2008

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, Ahmad Husein Ahmad Darduna, of Palestinian nationality, holder of ID No. 903291359, born on 26 November 1981, a carpenter and a resident of Saleh Darduna Street, Jabaliya al-Balad Governorate – North Gaza, would like to declare the following:

On Thursday, 28 February 2008, at approximately 2:30 pm, I was standing in front of my home, located on Martyr Saleh Darduna Street, which is a sub-street of al-Qarm Street east of Jabaliya. I saw approximately 11 children playing football in an empty square in front of my home. Among the children were my 13 year old brother and my cousins, Darduna Deeb Khalil Darduna, 11 years, ‘Ali Munir Darduna, 8 years, and Muhammad Na’im Hammouda, 7 years. I also knew all the other children because they are friends with my brother ‘Umar and my cousins, and we all live in the same quarter. It is worth noting that I am used to seeing my brother ‘Umar, my cousins and their friends playing football in the square opposite to my house.

As the children were playing, I saw more than one Israeli reconnaissance plane soaring unusually low in the sky over Jabaliya al-Balad, making an annoying noise. I always see the Israeli reconnaissance planes in the sky of our town and hear their blast clearly in the evenings and at night. Around 15 minutes after the children started playing, I heard a very strong explosion and saw a rocket falling to the ground among the children while they were playing football. I saw dust ascending from the playground. I was extremely horrified because the explosion was very strong and close to me. The distance between me and the playground on which the rocket fell was only around 35 metres.

I looked around and saw children lying on the ground of the playground where the rocket had landed. Immediately, I hurried to the playground to check on my brother, my cousins and my brother’s friends. I saw my brother ‘Umar and I first headed towards him. His two legs and his left hand were cut off, and his body was torn into pieces. He was bleeding and he was breathing with difficulty. I asked him to say a verse of the Koran, which Muslims usually utter when they are dying. He started saying it but he did not finish.

He died. At that moment, I collapsed and started crying. I kissed him goodbye and placed his head on the ground. I looked around and saw the bodies of three children torn into parts and other children were injured and screaming because of their severe pain and horror. After the explosion, I saw my mother leaving our home and hurrying toward the playground to check on my brother ‘Umar. I did not want her to see him dead and torn into pieces. Therefore I hurried toward her to prevent her from seeing her son. I was sure that the shock would be horrible for her. As I reached her, she asked me about my brother ‘Umar and I told her that he was fine. I took her hand and went with her to the house of my cousin Rabah Darduna, which was the nearest to where she was standing and I asked her to sit inside that house. I brought two pieces of cloth from Rabah’s house and went back to the square. I approached the other three children and I realised that they were my cousins Darduna Deeb Khalil Darduna, 11 years, ‘Ali Munir Darduna, 8 years, and Muhammad Na’im Hammouda, 7 years. Their bodies were torn into pieces and blood was pouring from the body parts that were hit by shrapnel. I recognised my cousins from their clothes and from the features of their faces. I also saw two children crying and yelling out in pain. These two children were ‘Ali Faraj Darduna, 12 years, and Yihiya Salah Darduna, 8 years.

The residents of the quarter, including my uncles and cousins and their wives, gathered on the playground and started screaming and crying after they saw the body parts of the children spread all over the playground. After 10 minutes an ambulance reached the playground. I helped the three relievers wrap the body of my brother ‘Umar and the body parts of the three other children in the two pieces of cloth that I had previously brought from Rabah Darduna’s house and carry them into the ambulance. I saw the residents of the quarter providing the other children who were injured with first aid. The killed and injured children were taken to Kamal ‘Udwan Hospital in Beit Lahiya.

I would like to point out that there were not any armed men, fighters or rockets launchers in the area we live in and where the children were playing. Our quarter is the area considered the highest from the sea level within Gaza Strip. The area is also open to the Israeli occupying forces. My house is approximately two kilometres from the eastern border which separates the Gaza Strip from the 48-territories which are controlled by the Israeli occupying forces. This area is inhabited by civilians living inside a refugee camp in Jabaliya al-Balad north of Gaza Strip.

 

Affidavit Details

  • Affidavit Number: 4119/2008
  • Field researcher: Mohammad Abu Rahmah
  • Affidavit Date: 7 March 2008
  • Name: Ahmad Husein Ahmad Darduna
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