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From the field

Testimony: Infant killed in Israeli shelling of Palestinian Interior Ministry building in the Gaza Strip, 27 February 2008

Nasser al-Bur'i, clerk

Nasser al-Bur'i

Although I am a clerk in the Palestinian Police, I have not worked since June 2007. My father is a guard at the boys' school a-Shati B. I live with my parents, brothers, and sisters in a house on the school grounds on Tareq Ben Zaid Street, in the Rimal North area, about twenty-five meters from the Interior Ministry building. When I married, in 2002, the house was divided: my wife and I live in one part, and my parents, brothers, and sisters live in the other. A total of eight people live in the house.

On Wednesday, 27 February, around 7:30 P.M., I went with my wife and our six-month-old son, Muhammad, to a photography studio to have Muhammad's picture taken. We also took a family portrait. Muhammad, our only child, was born in August 2007, after we had been married for five years. I was very happy that we had a child after so many years. After finishing at the studio, we returned home. I read a book and my wife breastfed Muhammad and laid him down in bed next to us. It was quiet outside and there wasn't any suspicious noise.

Around 10:45 P.M., we heard an enormous explosion, which cut off the electricity. Stones, smoke and dust filled the house, and I couldn't see anything. My wife shouted out of fear for Muhammad. I put out my hand to feel where he was lying and didn't feel him. Then there were two more massive explosions. Right after the explosions, I heard Muhammad groan. I reached toward the place where the sound came from and touched his leg. I picked him up and left the house. Right then, my brother Muhammad, 24, appeared. He took Muhammad from me and ran to a-Shifa Hospital, which is situated about 150 meters from the house.

I went back to the house to look for my wife. I dragged her outside. She had only suffered a few scratches from the blast. The whole house was in ruins, and was full of dust and broken glass. We went to the hospital. I saw the doctors giving Muhammad artificial respiration and first-aid.  He couldn't hold on, and died within a few minutes.

Muhammad was killed in the Israeli bombing of the Interior Ministry building. They don't care that there are lots of residential dwellings in the area. The Israeli occupation killed my only son, the son we waited five years for.

Testimony of Nasser 'Abd al-'Aziz Muhammad al-Bur'i, 29, married and bereaved father is a clrek in the Palestinian Police and a resident of Gaza City. His testimony was given to Muhammad Sabah at the witness's house on 2 March 2008.