"I Heard the Missile Coming"
GAZA CITY — Ali Abu-Fatahi will never forget the terrifying sound of a missile fired by an Israeli warplane as it zoomed in on his house.
"I was having my dinner when I heard the missile's whistle," a helpless Abu-Fatahi told IslamOnline.net from his bed at Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City.
In just seconds, the missile hit his family's house in the Dir Al-Balah City, razing it to the ground.
"I flew in the sky and then I found myself lying on the floor at our neighbors' house," he recalled the harrowing moments with tears flashing in his eyes.
Abu-Fatahi can't remember what happened next.
* Gaza Holocaust Museum
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He woke up with head injuries. It was later that he knew that all his 15 family members who were in the house were also hospitalized.
"All my family members were hit."
At least 345 people were killed and more than 1,650 wounded since Israel blitzed the Gaza Strip with massive air strikes on Saturday, December 27.
The aggression against the impoverished seaside territory, the world's most densely populated area, continued on Sunday, killing scores of Palestinians and wounding hundreds.
From his bed, Abu-Fatahi can hear his traumatized brother, Mahmoud, screaming.
He is still suffering from the shock of seeing his neighbors torn into pieces by the killer bombing.
"My sister who is only 2 is in another room."
Across Gaza, many are still frantically looking for bodies of their beloved ones under the rubbles. (Reuters)Across Gaza, many are still frantically looking for bodies of their beloved ones under the rubbles. (Reuters)
The battered Gaza Strip has turned into a mass grave.
The scene of people screaming in grief while taking their family members to burial is repeated over and over.
Civil defense forces are desperately trying to help people moving the corpses found buried under the rubbles of flattened buildings.
"We have dug out many bodies with no legs or heads," a civil defense officer told IOL.
In mass funeral processions, formed outside almost every Gaza house, the sound of Qur'an recitation is mixed with the distant sound of explosions.
The wailing of the grief-stricken and prayers for the departed are mixed with calls for reprisal.
Other Gazans, however, are still frantically looking for their beloved ones among the dead bodies.
"My sons have left the house at 10 am. I went to search for them in all hospitals but in vain," a shocked Om Ahmed Abu-Aqal said, with tears rolling down her cheeks.
Her sons were among scores of people inside one of the security compounds bombed out on Saturday.
"I came here to see if they are alive or dead under the rubbles of this building," said the weeping mother.
"I need to know what happened to them, where are they? Anyone tells me."
Sameh A. Habeeb, B.A.
Photojournalist & Peace Activist
Humanitarian, Child Relief Worker
Gaza Strip, Palestine
Skype: Gazatoday, Facebook: Sameh A. habeeb