Reflections from the Gaza Strip
Samah Fayeq al-Masri – Beit Hanun – North Gaza
On Wednesday 9 July 2014, Sahar ‘Ali al-Masri (Hamdan), 40, and her children Muhammad al-Masri, 14, Aseel, 17, and Shaima’, 4, headed home after visiting a relative in their area. Sahar decided that they would go back on foot fearing the continuous Israeli bombardment of the area. Her nephew Amjad Zaher Hamdan, 24, accompanied them on their walk to their house. At that time, Israeli aircrafts could be heard all over the neighbourhood.
While on their way back, Sahar’s sister-in-law, Samah, 47, who lives on the same street, heard a loud explosion. Samah went outside her house and saw white smoke coming out of al-Na’ayma Street and saw Sahar and her children attempting to escape. Samah heard another explosion as more white smoke rose from the same location where Sahar, her children and nephew were. A few seconds later, the dust cleared out and Samah could see Sahar and the children lying in the middle of the street covered with blood. Two consecutive Israeli airstrikes hit, injuring Sahar, her children and nephew.
Shortly afterwards, residents of the neighbourhood gathered and transferred those who were injured to the Beit Hanun Hospital. Samah immediately called her brother, Ibrahim, Sahar’s husband, and told him about the attack then immediately headed to the hospital. Upon Samah’s arrival to the hospital, the doctors declared Sahar dead due to injuries sustained in the head and back. Her son Muhammad was also announced dead due to injuries he sustained in the head, and so was Amjad, her nephew, who was hit with shrapnel in the head and chest. The doctors informed Samah that Aseel and Shaima’, Sahar’s daughters, had sustained very serious injuries in the chest and stomach and were both transferred to al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza for surgeries. At approximately 4:00 A.M. of the next day, Aseel was declared dead. As for Shaima’, the shrapnel were successfully removed from her stomach and is recovering at the hospital.
According to Samah, since the surgery, Shaima’ has been waking up in hospital crying, asking for her mother and why she has not come to visit her yet. Shaima’ witnessed her mother, two siblings and her cousin getting killed before her eyes. Samah tries to comfort Shaima’ and tell her that her mother is on her way to visit her as her father hugs her. Shaima’ and her father, Ibrahim, are the only two members left from their immediate family. Ibrahim finds it really hard to answer Shaima’s questions as she wakes up asking for her mother, her sister Aseel and her brother Muhammad. (Al-Haq Affidavit No. 9819/2014)