Ziad al-'Absi, father of six
I live with my family in the Yabneh section of the Rafah refugee camp. Last night [Sunday, 28 December], at around 10:30 P.M., we were all at home when we heard the sound of firing nearby. I went outside with the neighbors and asked the young men who were firing to move away from the neighborhood. They did, and then we saw Israeli helicopters in the sky.
Even though the armed men had left, I was afraid that the helicopters would return. I decided to take my whole family to a relative who lives a bit farther away.
Ziad al-‘Abasi standing among the ruins of his house, at the spot where the missile struck. Photo: Muhammad Sabah, B'Tselem, 21 April 2009./>
We stayed at his house until after midnight and then went back home because it was quiet and we thought the helicopters had gone. We all went to sleep together in my wife's and my bedroom, so the children would feel safe. They were afraid a little because of the shots they had heard earlier. Mahmoud, our eldest, who is eighteen, didn't come with us. He insisted on staying with the relatives.
Ziad al-Abasi among the ruins of his house. Photo: Muhammad Sabah, B'Tselem, 21 April 2009. />
We fell asleep, and the next thing I recall is waking up in Yusef a-Najar Hospital. I found out that a missile had struck our bedroom, killing three of my children - Ahmad, 11, Muhammad, 10, and Sidqi, 5. I was wounded in the head by shrapnel, and my wife, ‘Ifaf, was severely injured and is hospitalized at the European Hospital. My daughter Zakiya, 16, was wounded in the back and right hand by shrapnel, and my daughter N'ama, 2, was hit in the face. I thank Allah that he prevented my son Mahmoud from coming home.
Ziad Mahmoud Yusef al-'Absi, 46, married with six children, is a resident of Rafah, Gaza Strip. His testimony was given by phone to ‘Abd al-Karim Sa'adi on 29 Dec. '09.