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From the field

Testimony: Samaher Qdeih, 28, was killed in her yard in an air strike. She is survived by a two-month-old infant daughter, 17 November 2012

Naji 'Awad Qdeih, 50

I am married to two women and I live in the a-Sheikh a-Radwan neighborhood in the village of Khuza’ah, east of the city of Khan Yunis. There are two apartments in my house. My first wife, Um Jihad and our children live in one apartment. I live in the other apartment with my new wife Samaher and our baby daughter Mayar, who is less than two months old. The apartments share a small garden with olive trees. I used to work as an electrical technician for the Palestinian Authority. I still receive a salary from them but I have no work. I spend most of my time at home, with my two families, and take care of things at home. My two wives and the children have a very good relationship.

The apartment Samaher and I live in has a roof of asbestos and tin. The other apartment is built of concrete and has a tin-roofed kitchen. Due to the harsh economic situation, I wasn’t able to build the whole structure of concrete.

On Saturday, 17 November 2012, around 9:00 pm, I was in the apartment with Samaher. I heard explosions and, because the roof is made of asbestos, I suggested to Samaher that we sleep in the other apartment. I took Mayar and brought her to the other apartment, and asked Samaher to bring a blanket. I laid Mayar down with her siblings, and went back to bring more blankets. I entered our apartment to find Samaher on her way out. I told her: “Go on ahead, I'll bring more blankets.” She went out and I went in. After less than half a minute, I heard an earth-shaking explosion. I felt as if I was about to fly through the air, and the window shattered. A few seconds passed before I realized what had happened. I went out of the apartment, completely in shock. I saw that the bomb had landed in our yard. I started calling to Samaher to make sure she was all right.

No one answered. I sensed that something bad had happened to Samaher. I began screaming and calling to the children, who were already on their way out to see what had happened. I found Samaher in the yard. She had several injuries. Her clothes were torn and blood was trickling from her mouth. I tried to talk to her, but she was already dead. There was nothing I could do. That is how Samaher died.

I am left with Mayar, a baby not even two months old. Up to now, she had been nursing, and now she has no mother. The loss of my wife is very painful to me and I feel even sorrier for Mayar, who will grow up without her.

Naji 'Awad Qdeih, 50, husband of two and father of nine, is a resident of Khuza’ah. He had been an electrical technician for the Palestinian Authority. He gave his testimony to Atef Abu a-Rub on 19 November 2012, by telephone.