Testimony: 10 year-old lost his eyesight in a bombing in which a friend was killed and another wounded, Gaza Strip, Jan. '09

Osama Subuh, father of seven

The Israeli air force began to attack Beit Lahiya on the first days of the assault. After the army warned the residents and began to bomb houses, we left our house and went to live in the UN girls' school. The school is close to the Abu Rashed Pool, about one kilometer from our house. Some 700-800 people who fled from their homes are staying here, and the conditions are intolerable.

On 7 January 2009, a week after we moved to the school, there were rumors that the army had left the area. We stopped seeing helicopters and I felt it was safe enough to go to our house to get some things we had to have, like food, clothes, and things for the children. My son Lu'ai, who is 10 years old, my daughter Huda, Mahmoud Abu Laylah, and my nephew Husam, came with me.

We walked from the school to the house. The atmosphere was tense, but it didn't feel as if the army was in the area. I saw dozens of people who took advantage of the break and went home to get things. We got home around 8:30 A.M., maybe a bit after that, and took necessary things. The children helped me carry them. After we'd walked back about 150 meters, my son Rajab called and asked me to bring a small gas canister that we had, so we could cook. I asked Huda to come with me, and we returned to the house. The children stayed in the street. It's a residential neighborhood. I went only 20-30 meters when I heard an explosion behind me. I turned around and saw the children strewn on the ground. I heard the sound of a UAV [unmanned aerial vehicle] in the sky. I tried to go and help them, but the neighbors warned me that the plane might fire again, that such things have already happened. I waited a bit, and a few seconds later an Apache helicopter appeared and began to fire in all directions.

The firing continued for more than an hour. We couldn't do anything to rescue the children. Afterwards, a few of the neighbors' daughters went and reached the children. They picked up Lu'ai and Mahmoud and left Husam. He was dead and his body was torn apart.

Ambulances tried to get to the scene, but the army stopped them 500 meters from there. It took us two hours to get the children to an ambulance. I carried Lu'ai and other people came to help, and they carried Mahmoud. We walked to the ambulance, which was next to Sheikh Salim Mosque. From there, they took the children to Kamal ‘Adwan Hospital. Lu'ai was transferred to a hospital in Gaza City. Mahmoud remained at Kamal ‘Adwan Hospital.

We only managed to take Husam's body later on.

Osama Rajab Subuh, 37, married with seven children, is a resident of Beit Lahiya, in the northern Gaza Strip. His testimony was given to 'Atef Abu a-Rub by telephone on 12 Jan. '09.