11 members of Gaza family killed in Israeli air raid

2012-11-18 23:43:39 GMT2012-11-19 07:43:39(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

After being targeted in an Israeli air raid on Sunday, the al-Dalou family's house in Gaza City's al-Nasser neighborhood looks like an earthquake scene: The two-storeyed house has been completely destroyed and leveled to the ground by a missile fired by the Israeli F16 warplane; Rescue crew and medical teams, with the help of residents, are trying hard to remove the heavy cement pieces and search survivors or bodies of the family members from the rubble.

The rescue teams and neighbors kept on the search until it got dark. After heavy efforts for removing part of the rubble, they managed to find the body of an 11-month-old infant covered with black dust, amid hundreds of shocked neighbors.

Few minutes later, the crowds began to scream "Allaho Akbar ( God is great)," when the rescue crew hurried to remove more rubble and found another dead child from the same family whose body was covered with blood and dust.

The rescuers' day-long efforts proved to be in vain. Medics at Shiffa Hospital in Gaza City has announced that 11 people from the family in the house, including four children and three women, in addition to a bystander, were killed in the incident.

Neighbors and eyewitnesses said an F16 warplane fired one heavy missile at the house while the al-Dalou family members were inside, adding that they heard a huge explosion that destroyed the house and wrecked the housing complex at the neighborhood.

Shocked Bashir, a 55-year-old man who lives nearby, said with tears in his eyes as he looked at the rubble: "The house was destroyed over the heads of men, women and children. I have been living here for 10 years and I haven't seen such criminal scenes before."

After five days of the Israeli military operation on Gaza and rocket attacks on Israel carried out by Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants, severe destruction has been caused to several neighborhoods, houses, stores and roads in Gaza. Among the aerial attacks, the one on al-Dalou family was the most awful.

"We are subjected to a war of genocide," Bashir said while helping the rescue teams to move away the rubble.

The explosion also caused damage to nearby houses in the housing complex.

Zuhair al-Ashi, owner of a store in the neighborhood near al- Dalou's house, said he was in the bathroom when the house was pounded, and rubble and dust filled his bathroom after the explosion.

"I immediately went out and I wasn't able to see anything because the dust and rubble covered the whole area," said the store owner's brother Mohamed al-Ashi, who was moderately injured by the glass fragments and stones that flew everywhere and caused severe damage to his house in the complex.

Photographers and TV cameramen gathered in front of the al-Ashi family's house to take pictures as the front side of the house has collapsed. In the living room of the house, furniture was also badly damaged.

Abu Hassan, a 44-year-old man who lives in the same complex, remained shocked while some young men were trying to help another man who felt on the ground and fainted. "I was in my bedroom and I jumped with fear after the house was pounded," he said.

"My children were in a big shock and I didn't know how to treat them. I spent the whole day trying to explain to them what happened and trying to tell them that 'You heard previous bombs. It's okay. Don't worry'," said the father.

The rest of al-Dalou family, along with many clan members, came immediately after the house was struck, to help remove the rubble and rescue their relatives from under the rubble.

"As we all saw, there were no weapons in the house, and no rockets were fired either from the house or from the neighborhood, " said one of the family members, "I don't know why did the Israelis pound the house, and they knew in advance that there were women and children inside."

An Israeli army spokesman refused to comment on the aerial attack on the al-Dalou family house. She told Xinhua in a telephone conversation that she did not have enough information about this strike and "will check the report."

Ismail Haneya, prime minister of the de facto Hamas government in the Gaza Strip, said in a brief press statement emailed to reporters that what happened to al-Dalou family "was an awful massacre," calling on the international community to shoulder the responsibility for stopping the "bloodshedding of innocents."

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