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From the field

Testimony: Three-year-old killed in Israeli bombing of building next to his home, Gaza City, Dec. '08

Riad a-Sinwar, physician

Last Saturday [27 December], at 11:30 A.M., I was with my father and brother in the yard of our house. Then I went up the stairs to the house just as my three-year-old son Ahmad and my six-year-old daughter Maryam were on their way down to feed the chickens in the coop. I told them we would eat lunch as soon as they were done and went in.

Suddenly, there was a loud blast. The whole house shook, the lights went out, and everything went dark because of the dust. When I recovered from the blast, I saw that the windows and furniture were broken. I couldn't see my wife and children and called out to them. Then I heard Maryam say in a small voice, “Daddy, I can't find Ahmad. I can't find Ahmad.” I ran down the stairs and saw Maryam standing and crying. Parts of the exterior wall of the house had collapsed onto the stairs and the entrance was dark. I looked around and saw Ahmad laying in front of the elevator at the entrance to the house. I rushed over to him and saw that there were pieces of concrete on him. His brain had spilled out.

I'm a doctor, but I couldn't help my son. I felt that I couldn't function. I examined Ahmad and knew he was dead, but I took him anyway to Shuhadaa al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir el-Balah. When we got there, one of the doctors looked at Ahmad and said, “May Allah have mercy.” I took Ahmad back home. I couldn't grasp what had happened.

We're all in mourning now. My wife is also totally unable to grasp what has happened to us. Maryam is little, but you can tell that she's mourning too. I'm doing what I can to function as usual and help my family cope with our loss.

Later, we learned that our house had been damaged by the bombing of the civil defense headquarters.

Riad Muhammad Ahmad a-Sinwar, married with six children, is a physician and a resident of Gaza City. His testimony was given to 'Atef Abu a-Rub by telephone on 31 Dec. '08.