Throughout Saturday night, 3.1.09, the Israeli air force bombed targets in the a-Zeitun neighborhood in Gaza City. On Sunday morning, troops entered the neighborhood.
In one section of the neighborhood, which houses the extended a-Samuni family, several events occurred that day in which civilians were killed and wounded. The circumstances of each case are being investigated by B'Tselem.
One of these events occurred in ‘Attiyah a-Samuni's house. According to testimonies gathered by B'Tselem, 19 members of the family sheltered throughout the night in a single room.
Faraj a-Samuni related the events of that night to B'Tselem:
According to the above testimony and the testimony of Fahed a-Samuni, on Sunday morning, 4 January, around 7:20 A.M., soldiers fired a shell that landed near the family home. ‘Attiyah a-Samuni, the father, left the door to the house open to ensure minimum harm to the house and its occupants if soldiers wished to enter it. A few minutes later, soldiers arrived at the house and called on the father of the family to step out. As ‘Attiyah a-Samuni approached the door, one of the soldiers ordered him to raise his hands and then, without warning, the soldiers opened fire and killed him, in front of his family. They then continued to shoot into the room in which the family was gathered, injuring several members.
A short while later, the soldiers ordered the remaining family members to leave the house, wounded and healthy alike. After they had walked less than a kilometer, another group of soldiers ordered them back to the a-Samuni section, denying them the possibility of getting the wounded persons to hospital. The family found shelter with a relative, and the wounded were left untreated until the next morning. The next day, 5.1.09, 4-year-old Ahmad a-Samuni died of the wounds he had received to the chest.