Jan 15, 2009Khan Younis: “We could hear their bodies burning,” 27-year-old Fadia Al Najjar recounts.
As Israeli planes poured what is now confirmed as DIME (Dense Inert Metal Explosive) munitions on Gaza residents, Fadia recounts the night of terror her and her family endured.
“We were terrified. We thought we were going to burn to death,” she said.
Fadia and her husband Ghanem, who is a paramedic, live in the Khaza’a neighborhood. While the munitions were falling, Ghanem had been dispatched to attend to the wounded. While on duty he inhaled the white smoke.
“Neighbours were screaming, asking for help; the fire was spreading,” she remembers.
“I woke up my kids, got them to my parents’ house, hoping to find a safer place.”
“After we reached to my parents, the bombs followed us to their home too and the fire spread everywhere. The top floor was burnt completely.”
It’s not just her husband Fadia keeps watch over. In fact, the young mother has to split her time among the hospital’s many wards. Her children have also been hospitalised.
“They wanted to burn us alive inside the house. There were 40 of us in there. Men, women, children,” she recalls of the second bombing.
After the sixth bomb hit the home, Zakaya, a relative of Fadia’s was able tot escape with her family but were forced to abandon those left in the building. The fire was too hot and the smoke too intense and no one could get back inside.
“The smoke was spreading so fast; we couldn’t see through it. We couldn’t see, but we could hear.”
From the windows of the burning home the cries of her children and cousins filled the streets.
“The cries were not just from my home, but from the neighbours’ house too.”
She struggled to find her injured family members at Nasser Hospital in the northwest of Gaza City.
Dr Yousef Abu Ar Reesh, the medical director at Nasser Medical Center, said more than 90 patients were brought in for burn treatments.
“Most of them were skin burns, lacerations and deep wounds. A lot of them came in choking, unable to breathe,” he explains.
He explained that as far as he can tell the Israeli army is using two kinds of bombs,
“The first causes severe skin burns and leads to death and the second kind leads to suffocation, congestion, the inability to breathe.”
“The Israeli government is using a new kind of bomb and explosives that Palestinian medics have never even heard of.”
“Not even the Arab medical teams who just arrived can give us any support,” he says.
The doctor pointed out that the wounds and burns are “terrible and horrific.”
When asked if Israel is deliberately using weapons that are illegal under international law for use against civilians, Dr Ar Reesh chooses his words carefully: “I can’t rule that out.”