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From the field

Operation Pillar of Defense: The killing of Samaher Qdeih, 28, Khuza’ah, 17 November 2012

On 17 November 2012, late in the evening, an Israeli military plane bombed Khuza’ah. Samaher Q'dieh, 28, was killed in the yard of her home. Her husband’s son from his first wife, Nidal Qdeih, 27, was seriously wounded in both legs and taken to the hospital. B’Tselem’s investigation found that the family was not involved in the fighting against Israel.

Samaher Qdeih, 28, was Naji Qdeih’s second wife. Their daughter Mayar was three months old at the time. Testimony given to B’Tselem shows that, at around 9:30 PM on 17 November 2012, the couple was awakened by the noise of bombing. Naji Qdeih decided that they had best go over to the house of his first wife Maha, because it was better protected and built of concrete. The father picked up his infant daughter and went over to Maha’s house, just seven meters away. Then he returned to get some clothes and a blanket for Mayar. He asked Samaher to bring another blanket and join him. Samaher left the apartment carrying the blanket. This is Naji Qdeih’s account of the events:

Naji Qdeih and baby Mayar. Photo: Khaled al-'Azayzeh, B'Tselem, 27 Nov. 2012I went into Samaher’s house, took a blanket and meant to leave the room. Suddenly there was a huge explosion. Chunks of stone went flying all over the place. White smoke filled the courtyard. I walked out the door and went toward the other house. I heard my son Nidal screaming. Before the bombing he had been sitting on a chair by a palm tree, about four meters away from the balcony. I reached him by following his voice, because the dust kept me from seeing him. Then a few of my other sons arrived and we picked him up and took him out to the road. One of my sons waited with Nidal until the ambulance came and took him to the hospital.

I went back to the courtyard. I found my wife Samaher lying on the ground near the steps of the balcony. I picked her up and saw that her left leg was severed and her clothes torn. Blood was trickling from her mouth. I picked her up and asked that she recite the Shehadatein prayer because I realized that she was badly injured and wouldn’t survive.

Samaher Qdeih died at the scene. Nidal Qdeih was hit by shrapnel all over his body and particularly in his legs. Due to the severity of his injuries, he was taken to Egypt for medical treatment where he underwent surgery. He returned to Gaza about two weeks later, but as of the writing this report, he walks with crutches and is still undergoing physical therapy.

On 11 April 2013 the Office of the Military Advocate for Operational Matters informed B’Tselem that the investigation of the complaint has not yet been completed.