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From the field

IDF missile hits group of youths, killing six, Abu Holi area, Deir al-Balah, 12 July 2006

Abdallah Abu Mgheseb, 18

Abdallah Abu Mgheseb

On Wednesday, 12 July, at around ten in the morning, I was walking to Salah-a-Din Street . There were Israeli army vehicles there, and I got to a place 250 meters from them. I wanted to see what was happening and to throw stones at them, but I was afraid. I stopped and stood near the Wadi a-Salqa bridge. A group of youths, about twenty in all, gathered there. We were from Deir al-Balah and the al-Bureij refugee camp. I am eighteen years old and was the oldest in the group.

Around 1:00 P.M., the army vehicles started to withdraw. It took about two hours for them to move about 400 meters to the east. We went to where they had been. We found two crates of bullets. We stayed there for another two hours, maybe more.

A little before 6:00 P.M., the tanks began to fire at us. We fled without taking the crates of bullets. Ten of us dispersed, and ten or so remained. None of us had been injured. We ran about 150 meters and hid in a very large and wide pit. After five minutes or so passed, four of the youths left the pit. Six of us remained in the pit. Then a rocket was fired by a helicopter. It landed about ten meters from me and tore apart the bodies of the other five youths. Fragments hit me in the right hand, back, and legs. The four youths who had left the pit were also hit. One of them later died from his wounds.

I picked up one of the youths whose legs had been severed, and told him, "Say the martyr's prayer." Because of the horror that I saw around me, I didn't feel my wounds. I took him to the main road, about 130 meters from where we were. The residents gathered and took the wounded by horse-drawn wagons and cars. The ambulances arrived about twenty minutes later. One of the ambulances took me to Shuhada al-Aqsa Hospital , in Deir al-Balah. In the ambulance with me was the body of one of the youths who had been killed. He was full of soot from the blast. I was treated at the hospital, and they removed ten shell fragments from my body. I was discharged around 21:00 P.M.

'Abdallah Breiq Abdallah Abu Mgheseb, 18, is a resident of the al-Mahteh area in Deir al-Balah, the Gaza Strip. His testimony was given to Zaki Kahil at the witness's home on 25 July 2006.