Testimony: Children witness their mother and another woman killed by fire from a tank, Gaza Strip, Jan '09

Sa'id a-Sinwar, 22

On Sunday (4 January), around 2.30 P.M., I left home to go my wife's family, who live in the Nusseirat refugee camp. I took a taxi from Jabalya to the Gaza City taxi station, and from there took another taxi to Nusseirat. The other passengers were a woman headed for Khan Younis and another woman with two sons and two daughters, also on their way to Nusseirat. I sat in front with one of the small boys. The driver took the sea route because the Israeli army had closed Salah a-Din Road.

Before we left Gaza City, the driver stopped at Tel al-Hawa and asked the residents if the way was safe enough to continue. They said there was no problem. We continued driving until just before the Shuhada Junction. When we were about 30 meters from the junction, we saw a small part of an Israeli tank jutting out behind a sand pile. The taxi driver stopped and I immediately put my hands up. The soldiers in the tank began firing in our direction. The driver began to turn the car around and then the front tire burst. The soldiers continued firing at us.

The two women in the taxi were killed and the little boy who was sitting in his mother's lap was injured. The driver was hit in the hand. The front tire of the car blew up. The driver kept on going until we reached Abu Mazen square. Luckily there was an ambulance on duty in the area because of all the recent events, so everyone who had been hit was taken to hospital. 

Sa'id Muhammad Hassan a-Sinwar, 22, is a resident of the Jabalya refugee camp in Gaza Strip. His testimony was given to Muhammad Sabah on 4 January 2009.