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Testimony: Soldiers shoot woman carrying white flag after they order residents to leave their houses, Khuza'a, southern Gaza Strip, January 2009

Update: On 13 May 2013 the MAG Corps informed B’Tselem that the investigation file had been closed on 16 June 2010. For more information click here.

Nuha a-Najar, mother of two

Nuha a-Najar

Our house is located in the ‘Izzat section of Khuza'a, about 700 meters from the border with Israel. I live there with my husband and our two children, along with my husband's first wife, Rawhiya Ahmad Salman a-Najar, and her daughter.

On Monday, 12 January, around 11:00 P.M., I was at home with my children and with Rawhiya and her daughter. Our area had been shelled, and a few fires had broken out close to us. Rawhiya and I went outside, with neighbors, to put out the fires, because we were afraid they would reach our houses.

After putting out the fires, we went back in. About half an hour later, the Israeli army began to fire at houses in the neighborhood. I also heard the sound of bulldozers and tanks approaching.

After morning prayers, the noise of the bulldozers and the shooting increased. We all started screaming and crying in fear. Many people from the neighborhood fled from the bulldozers approaching their houses and came to our house. We all went onto the roof of the house and waved white flags, so the soldiers would know it was a house of civilians and wouldn't destroy or shell it.

The soldiers called out, on a loudspeaker, to leave the area. I told Rawhiya that we had to leave the house with all the others. Around 8:00 A.M., we left. She went out first, holding a white flag. We all followed her.

After walking a few meters, I told Rawhiya that I saw soldiers in the house of Fares Suliman a-Najar, next to us. A moment after that, I heard one shot and saw Rawhiya fall. Yasmin Khaled a-Najar, 23, who was with us, tried to care for her, but soldiers also fired at her, hitting her in the leg. We all ran back and entered a nearby house belonging to our neighbor.

Hole in the wall of the house through which the soldiers apparently fired at Rawhiya a-Najar. Photo: Khaled al-‘Azayzeh, B'Tselem, 21 Jan. 2009.
Hole in the wall of the house through which the soldiers apparently fired at Rawhiya a-Najar. Photo: Khaled al-‘Azayzeh, B'Tselem, 21 Jan. 2009.

Rawhiya remained in the street, bleeding. Later, I learned that, around 8:00 P.M., after the army had withdrawn from the area, an ambulance came and took her to the hospital, but she was already dead.

Nuha Ibrahim Hamdan a-Najar, 33, married with two children, is a homemaker and a resident of Khuza'a, Khan Yunis district. Her testimony was given to Khaled al-'Azayzeh in Khuza'a on 21 Jan. '09.