Testimony: Bombing causes the Abu al-Haj family to flee their house and go to a school in a-Nuseirat, Jan. '09

Hassan Abu al-Haj, father of five

Sunday, January 4th, around 2:00 P.M., I was sitting at home with my family. Some of us got ready for prayers. I sat next to my brother, who has heart problems and has trouble walking. He was treated in Israel in the past, after he had a heart attack. My wife was preparing dough to bake bread because we didn't know what to expect and feared we wouldn't be able to prepare food later.

Suddenly, bombs began to fall nearby, causing fires and dense smoke. The children screamed and cried. I got everybody together and we ran from the house, taking nothing with us, not even clothes or the food that my wife had made. We took my brother by cart to the hospital. Everybody who lived in our area fled toward the Nuseirat refugee camp. On the way, bombs fell. We and others went into a school in the camp. My immediate family and relatives of ours went into a classroom, and we have been there since. We don't have electricity or food, or money to buy food. The infants don't even have milk and diapers.

The al-Haj family in the school in a-Nuseirat refugee camp. Photo: Khaled 'Azayzeh, B'Tselem
The al-Haj family in the school in a-Nuseirat refugee camp. Photo: Khaled 'Azayzeh, B'Tselem

Our living conditions are horrible. This is the fourth day we have been without electricity and sufficient water. I have no idea what happened to our house, if the Israeli army destroyed it. Earlier today I tried to go there, but the army fired in my direction, and I ran back.

Hassan 'Eid Mahwash Abu al-Haj, 38, married with five children, is an unemployed resident of al-Maghraqa in the Gaza Strip. His testimony was given to Khaled 'Azaiza on 5 January 2009.