After ceasefire, battered Palestinians recall Israeli ‘massacre’

Gaza – Just two hours separated the killing of 17-year-old Hamed Najim and his three cousins ​​in the Jabaliya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip and the announcement of a ceasefire with Israel.

Israel and the Palestinian armed group Islamic Jihad announced a ceasefire late Sunday after three days of heavy bombardment of the besieged Gaza Strip.

The ceasefire began at 11:30pm local time on Sunday (20:30 GMT) and has held until now, despite a flurry of last-minute Israeli airstrikes and Palestinian rocket launches.

According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, the Israeli attack killed 44 Palestinians, including 15 children, and injured at least 350 civilians. Three-day “pre-emptive strike”.

Hamed and his cousins ​​— Jamil Najam al-Din Naijam, 4, Jamil Ihab Najim, 13, and Mohammad, 17 — were in the Fallujah cemetery across the street from their home when they were hit by a missile.

Hamed’s mother Diana was visibly shaken. She told Al Jazeera that her son was very careful not to leave the house for fear of Israeli attacks.

“Just two hours before the declaration of war, he told me he was going out with his cousins ​​for five minutes,” she said. A few moments passed and then we heard a bomb blast. We ran outside to find my son and his three cousins. They were all cut to pieces.”

‘Your life is in vain’

Diana’s story is similar to many others in the besieged Gaza Strip, after Israel launched repeated airstrikes in a three-day operation that included “surgical strikes” against the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group. Accordingly To Gilad Erdan, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations.

“I was a mother of four children. Today, my children have turned three in the blink of an eye. My son was very obedient, kind and excelled in studies even in our difficult situation,” she said.

“Why are we exposing all this in Gaza? We can lose our children at any moment and at any moment as if our life is in vain.”

Despite the loss of her son, Diana expressed satisfaction with the ceasefire. “Bass is bass. We can’t take it anymore and I don’t want other mothers in Gaza to see the bitterness of what I’m going through now,” she said, tears streaming down her cheeks.

Diana, Hamed Najeem’s mother, weeps at her son’s wake [Abdelhakim Abu Riash/Al Jazeera]

‘Bombing till the last moment’

On Monday, a large crowd gathered in the Buraj refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip to mourn Yasser al-Nabhin, 40, and his three children, who were killed in an Israeli bombardment of their family home earlier in the evening.

The father and his two sons, Ahmed, 13, Mohammed, 9, and his daughter Dalia, 13, were killed in the attack. His elder son was injured and recovered in hospital.

“I was sitting with my uncle Yasser on a small plot of land near our house,” Ahmed, a family member, told Al Jazeera. “They moved a little further when a missile landed between us and the space above him and his children. They all fell apart in a moment.”

Ahmed said he could not believe what happened before his eyes.

“I was screaming and calling for help and calling an ambulance. My uncle was a good person and loved by all. He had no political connection. We were sitting and his children were playing in front of him. The carnage happened within minutes,” he said.

The father and his children died half an hour before the ceasefire was agreed.

“It’s overwhelming and very difficult to understand. Israel bombarded people and civilians until the last moment,” Ahmed said.

The bodies of Yasser Al-Nabhin (40) and his three sons were killed on Sunday evening.
Mourners carry the bodies of Yasser Al-Nabahin, 40, and his three sons, who were killed on Sunday evening. [Hosam Salem/Al Jazeera]

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