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A tragic loss of many lives on a bloody Wednesday
Sunday, February 11, 2004

Gaza City:

The city of Gaza is a very sad place today. Israeli army, tanks and helicopters have killed 15 Palestinians and injured more than 53, ten of them in critical conditions, on Wednesday February 11th. It happened suddenly in the early morning hours when tens of tanks supported by several helicopters gunship attacked the Shijjaiya area in the eastern part of Gaza City. The main thrust of the operation and shooting took place in a major street in that area called Baghdad Street.

The fighting continued form about 4:30 in the morning till two in the afternoon. Ambulance cars, time and time again, kept racing against time carrying injured people or killed ones to the hospital. Relatives and friends rushed to the main hospital of Shifa to find out about the fate of their loved ones. And for more than three hours, the emergency room at the hospital and its medical teams did not stop working attempting to save as many lives as possible. There were old people and young boys swiftly brought in by ambulances carried on stretchers. The large number of causalities was unusually high which prompted few hospital officials to come outside the emergency room and appealing to people for blood donations. Immedialty, dozens of young men, responding to the appeal of officials, went to the hospital laboratories to donate blood.

Back in Baghdad Street, exactly at the eastern end of it, heavy machine guns and the occasional shelling could be heard being fired literally from Israeli tanks at homes and people who were trying to take cover by throwing themselves at the sidewalk. One high school boy named Mohammed Hillis was found killed next to his school bag. Other teenagers were seen jumping off their bicycles in the middle of the street rushing for a cover by hiding into the smaller streets between houses. Most of those injured or killed were shot in the upper part of the body because Israeli soldiers normally occupy the tallest buildings in an area and set up snipers at the roofs. That is done after terrorizing the residents and kicking them out of their homes. Witnessing and watching the whole thing through the morning hours, what happened today was an orgy of shooting, cold-blooded killing of normal civilians and a blood bath.

CNN and BBC barely mentioned it on news bulletin. But, Arab News media was present and reported it with details.

And in the meanwhile, Israeli military in Rafah was carrying out another incursion where two people got killed and 17 injured, nine of them critically, according to local hospital sources in Rafah.

At the main hospital in Gaza, a big crowd gathered with many sad faces and a lot of angry others too. Some were crying. Others preferred to sit alone comprehending the loss of a brother or a friend or neighbor, etc・

One young boy aged fourteen arrived to the hospital with his injured brother in the same ambulance car. As the back door of the car opened, the boy jumped first, pulled the stretcher along with the paramedic team from inside the car. Then, he shouted loud ordering for the emergency room to open, pushing the cart forward inside. But, a couple of doctors asked him to leave and wait outside as he cried loud, pleading to stay shouting, ・I want to be with my brother・ He knew that his brother would not make it and wanted to say the last goodbye. Witnesses said the dead boy was bleeding heavily before an ambulance car could reach him because Israeli soldiers fired at the medical team blocking them from rescuing the young kid. It is a normal practice by Israel army and such incidents have been reported and documented over and over again for the last couple of years in shooting at paramedic teams and destroying ambulance cars.

Just outside the hospital emergency teams, a couple of prominent leaders from Islamic Jihad were talking to several media sources that in turn condemned the latest military attack on Gaza. And both leaders announced ・a suitable answer will come soon for Sharon痴 crimes against the Palestinian people.・Meaning that revenge will most certainly to follow.

People of Gaza expressed deep disgust and anger at the high number of people killed by Israeli military. Some shops closed down. Many schools were ordered to send students home. In the streets, people did not seem to talk much. Most were stuck to the local FM stations, almost all day, listening to breaking news following breaking news. Radio reporters seemed to be everywhere; in the 吐ield ・not far from the tanks, broadcasting live audio sounds from the battled area and from hospitals, interviewing health officials who update latest 杜artyrs names, and from Rafah, reporting about tank incursions which demolish houses and try to identify owners names, Apache Helicopters latest movements where broadcaster advise people what to do, etc・tc・

That is only a glimpse of what really happened today on bloody Wednesday.

By: B. Samed

Feb. 11th, 2004


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