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From the field

Testimony: Jaber Abu Hweij loses father and brothers in Gaza bombing

Jaber Abu Hweij, residnet of Tufah neighborhood

I lived with my parents and brothers and sisters in the Tufah neighborhood in Gaza City. Our house is between the police building and the al-Mahata mosque. On Saturday, 27.12.08, while I was at work, one of my neighbors called me and told me to come home quickly.

I got home and was shocked by what I saw. The house had been hit by an explosion and was a pile of rubble. Where the house had been there was a big hole. There were dozens of people trying to get my family out of the ruins, but they only managed to get some of them out alive.

My father, Jaber Abu Hweij, 52, my sister, Fadia, 22, and my brother Muhammad, 18, were killed in the bombing. Many other family members were injured.

The neighbors told me the house had been hit three times, one right after the other. Some of my family was hurt in the first strike and while others tried to help them, the house was hit again and others were injured. It happened so quickly there was no time to flee.

I keep seeing my sister Fadia in my mind. She was the last one I saw that morning when I left for work.. She is the one who woke me for morning prayers and to go to work. Her voice still echoes in my ears.

Some of my family is still hospitalized and some has already been released.

We don't have a house to return to. We are scattered among neighbors' houses and we don't know where we will go after that. The people here took us into their homes but this situation cannot continue for long. I don't know what to do. />

Our family has fallen apart. Some of been killed and others are hospitalized. We lost our home and all our possessions: all our mementos, our dreams, our stories, our furniture, everything is under the ruins. The important thing now is for me to take care of my family that is still alive. I am particularly taking care of my brother Ahmad, who is still in intensive care.

Jaber Abu Abu Hweij is a resident of Tufah neighborhood in Gaza City. His testimony was taken by telephone by Atef Abu Rub on 29 Dec. '08.