Family mourns Gaza boy shot by Israeli forces while playing football
Thirteen-year-old Muhammad Abu Daqqa vividly recalls the moment his friend and cousin Ahmad Abu Daqqa was killed outside his southeast Gaza home while they were playing football last Thursday afternoon.
“Suddenly, Ahmad fell on the ground and I was surprised to see him sort of bleeding right beneath his heart. An Israeli helicopter was buzzing overhead and other Israeli military jeeps and tanks were seen near the border line,” Muhammad explained.
According to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), the life of the football-obsessed 13-year-old was cut short when a bullet fired by Israeli soldiers stationed nearby hit him in the stomach (“New Israeli escalation against the Gaza Strip,” 11 November).
Ahmad Abu Daqqa was born and raised in Abbasan al-Kabira town, a rural area east of Khan Younis. The boy is one of several Gaza children who have been killed by Israeli fire in recent days; two teen cousins, 16-year-old Muhammad Harara and 17-year-old Ahmad Harara, were also killed by Israeli fire while playing football near Gaza City on Saturday, according to PCHR.
Ahmad Abu Daqqa’s mother, who goes by Um Bilal, was at the home a relative to greet pilgrims who had recently returned from Mecca when her son was killed. She learned that a member of her family was shot through the news broadcast on a TV in the home she was visiting.
In a lowered voice, Um Bilal said through her tears, “The broadcaster announced the news, and at that moment my nephew screamed. … At this moment I felt my heart was taken out of me and I rushed to verify the news, as I had a feeling it was my son Ahmad.
“I went to the hospital directly to find my husband Abu Bilal holding Ahmad in his arms. It was such a horrible, heartbreaking moment, and I burst into sobs,” she said.
The grieving mother sighed, and recalled how her active son was known for helping not only his immediate family but his extended family as well.
“His aunts and others in the family used to always ask Ahmad for help — such as getting something from a grocer, or bringing water. Ahmad was my eye with which I see, Ahmad was my hand with which I create things, Ahmad was my leg with which I walk,” Um Bilal said, as her eight-year-old daughter Noor sat beside her.
“He was so helpful — to the extent that once he asked me to teach him how to cook for his eldest sister, Taghreed, who is a university student and spends much of her time studying,” Um Bilal added.
Sisters, father mourn
Noor proudly displayed a poster of her slain older brother and recalled watching Tom and Jerry with Ahmad, who was devoted to the Real Madrid football club.
Older sister Taghreed, who studies chemistry, said that Ahmad excelled at school and dreamed of becoming a computer engineer. Ahmad was a friend as well as a brother and would escort her on family visits or to the nearby market and help her with anything related to the computer, she explained.
Ahmad’s father, Younis Abu Daqqa or Abu Bilal, had just returned from the European Gaza Hospital where he works on the administrative staff. Abu Bilal, who is in his late fifties, couldn’t hold back as he recalled his son with a shaking voice.
“Ahmad was a part of me,” Abu Bilal said, surrounded by neighbors who had come to support the grieving family. “But I want to only say, I thank God for this and may he rest in peace with the angels. May God take revenge upon them [the Israeli soldiers]. What did my son do to deserve to be killed by them? Was his ball that he was playing with a rocket or a machine gun?”
Since the death of Ahmad Abu Daqqa, approximately twenty other Palestinians have been killed in increasing Israeli military aggression against the Gaza Strip, where the civilian population has nowhere to flee.
Israel ended an effective truce with armed groups in Gaza yesterday when it extrajudicially executed Hamas military commander Ahmed al-Jabari. Israel says its military activity in Gaza is aimed at stopping crude rocket fire in Gaza. Between the beginning of the year through 6 November, 71 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in Gaza while 19 Israelis were injured by Palestinian fire from Gaza and none killed, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (“Protection of civilians weekly report”).
Back at the Abu Daqqa family home, Taghreed had the following message for Israel: “Do whatever you want, kill whoever you want; you should know that you are strangers on this land and one day you will go away.”
Rami Almeghari is a journalist and university lecturer based in the Gaza Strip.
Brothers Tareq Jamal Naser, 16, and Oday Jamal Nasser, 14, as well as Fares al-Bassiouni were killed when Israel bombed their home in Beit Hanoun, the ministry said.
The brothers’ father and three children were among six injured in the explosion. Witnesses said a fire broke out affecting a nearby mosque after the bombing.
Israel’s army said it had hit around 70 rocket-launching sites in the course of an hour on Thursday evening, as deadly violence continued since Israel assassinated a Hamas commander on Wednesday.
The aerial bombardment set off earth-shaking thuds and fireballs in the dark sky and were met with screeches of Palestinian rocket fire launched from the outskirts of Gaza City towards southern Israel.
One of the sites targeted by Israel was an electricity generator that supplied the house of Hamas’s prime minister in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh. It was unclear whether he was at home at the time.
Witnesses told Ma’an violent explosions across Gaza City’s Sheikh Radwan neighborhood set a high-rise building ablaze, with flames lighting Gaza’s sky. Several injured, including women, were brought to Gaza’s Al-Shifa hospital, a Ma’an correspondent said.
Airstrikes also hit an open area east of Gaza City, and four areas near Rafah in south Gaza.
Witnesses said Israeli planes hit the marine police headquarters in Deir al-Balah, which has been destroyed repeatedly in Israeli airstrikes. Sites in Khan Younis were also hit.
This post originally appeared on Malaka Mohammed’s blog yesterday.
Gaza is now witnessing difficult moments! I live at Shijaeya, to the east of Gaza City. My region would be the first to be hit in any Israeli invasion. 3 days ago, 6 civilians were murdered and around 40 were injured in my region. Today, the same numbers were murdered but it seems the injuries will be more.
I had 2 sleepless nights lacking the ability to focus, study, or even sleep. At 2:00 am last night, I was still up relaxing after my little sisters had managed to go to sleep. Half an hour after sleeping, a house was targeted in the street where I live.
At that moment, my little 8-year-old sister woke up and started running and screaming “mama, mama, mama!”
Hugging and trying to calm her down, “Be strong!” I said
Just minutes ago, What I have just witnessed in my own eyes is indescribable! 2 martyrs, a river of blood, people crowding and running everywhere, ambulances, press, & the red is the color! One of the girls who was with me seeing the Israeli rocket when it hit next to us became speechless! She could neither speak nor walk! Trying to calm her down, I was helping her to walk and I was hoping to calm her by saying the only thing that came to my mind: “this is our fate; we should be as steadfast as we can. Palestine needs sacrifice to be free”
It was a long way and she was still unable to speak. We had to stop many times because she couldn’t walk and her body was shaking uncontrollably. It was so difficult to find a car so that we could reach her home quickly. Every five minutes, we heard a new bomb which made her shout in the street.
The way she is standing speechlessly, how her body is shaking led me to cry from inside. I pray on my every step that we can reach home and she can speak again. After walking for half an hour, we found a car.
The girl was still crying and hugging me. Her face is still on my mind. Remembering her, I can’t but cry! We finally reached her home. She saw her mother, hugging her, starting crying and shouting, “this is unfair.”
The moment I was in the car to my home to the east of Gaza City border, 5 new bombs were hitting places just by the border! I reached my house and I see my little sister crying! My God, what I should do in this situation except being steadfast! We will never give up.