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From the field

Testimony: Khaled al-Astal, 14, killed in bombing by Israeli army, Khan Yunis, 27 December 2008

Sami al-Astal, teacher,

On Saturday afternoon [27 Dec.], after the Israeli attack began, I was at the school I teach in. Someone called me and said that Khaled, my 14-year-old son, had been injured and was in hospital.

I went to the hospital, and when I arrived, they told me he was dead. I couldn't do anything but cry. He was hit directly, and his body was torn apart. They didn't even let me see him and hug him. It was so horrible. I had to call my wife and tell her what had happened, but I couldn't tell her the truth. I asked her to come to the hospital because Khaled had been injured. She came to the hospital, and only then I told her Khaled was dead.

I found out that Khaled had been among the people who went to see one of the first places that was hit in the attack - a post of combatants in the western section of Khan Yunis, about one kilometer from our house. I was told that Khaled had ridden his bicycle to the place, but before he managed to get there, the planes bombed again. Shrapnel from the second missile struck Khaled and he fell from the bicycle. Other people were injured. After that, everybody thought the bombing had ended. Two people came to help Khaled. Shortly after that, another missile was fired. Khaled was killed immediately, along with one of the two people who were trying to help him. The other person, Abu Laftah, was injured and is still in hospital.

Sami al-Astal is a teacher and a resident of Khan Yunis in the Gaza Strip. His Testimony was given to 'Atef Abu a-Rub by telephone on 30 December 2008.