Israeli F16 Jets commit an ugly massacre by firing missiles into a crowed
residential area in Gaza
Tuesday, July 23, 2002
It took only few seconds to turn a seemingly normal and peaceful summer
night into one of Gaza City's bloodiest attacks committed by Israel.
It was about midnight, when all of the sudden, we heard the sound of the
F16s jets flying over the city. The F16s flew low as we soon realized,
learning from past experiences, that they were about to release missiles.
Sure enough, two violent explosions shocked the area. The jets released
two destructive missiles, which hit a crowded residential area located
east of Yarmuok Stadium near Al Wahida Street.
Immediately, ambulance cars and a stream of private cars rushed to the
stricken area, carrying dead and injured people to the biggest hospital
in Gaza, Al Shifa.
The F16s strike, which took only quick few seconds, caused a horrendous
havoc and destruction to a very crowded area within the city. The target
was a building consisting of 6 floors housing many families with many children.
According to Al Jazeera Arab News network, the jets apparently, aimed at
assassinating Salah Shuhata, the leader of the military wing of Hamas,
Al Qassam. First, Palestinian Officials confirmed that Mr. Salah was killed
along with his wife and three of his children. However, a couple of hours
later, news sources re-announced that Mr. Salah escaped the assassination
attempt safely. He was seen alive and well, according to new sources.
The number of those killed so far is 10 people, many of them children who
were sleeping in this late hour of the night. Also, sources confirmed that
there are at least 70 injured, many of them are serious.
The famous Arab News network, Al Jazeera, stopped normal broadcasting to
announce the breaking news of the sudden air strike on Gaza. The live coverage
showed the site of the bombed residential area where hundreds of people
were trying to rescue family members and neighbors. The TV showed horrible
and terrifying images of dead children whom were carried on shoulders of
men trying to send them as soon as possible to the hospital. Two young
men were shown carrying the remains of a dead man, half a body, as they
attempted to maintain the blown up muscles and bones into their
The scenes were truly chocking for its magnitude of bloodshed and destruction.
The attack targeted a very crowded area of the city where people mostly
were asleep in their homes.
The reaction in the city can be seen and heard in the streets. Cars and
buses, carrying relatives and friends, rushed to the main hospital in Gaza,
Al Shifa, to look for loved ones.
In a statement to AL Jazeera TV, Dr. Rantisi, a prominent Hamas Leader,
condemned the attack angrily. He described the attack as a zionist terrorist
tack against and innocent Palestinian civilians who were sleeping in their
homes.・Dr. Rantisi, raising his voice over the phone in a mood of defiance,
declaring,・We will answer back at Israel.・He said,・Israel shall pay
for every drop of blood spilled tonight by this coward attack.
Tonight, or rather the early morning hours of Tuesday, July 23rd, after
Israel's committing of this vicious and ugly massacre in attacking an entire
civilian building in order to assassinate one militant, will usher a new
dimension to the current conflict between the Palestinians and Israelis.
One Palestinian commentator stressed the fact that Israel has gone very
far by striking F16 missiles directly at a civilian building, bringing
the entire building to ruins along with many houses in the area. He added
that such a violent crime would set new rules for coming events.
Already, the city of Gaza tonight, about 2:00 AM. is enflamed in anger.
The west side of the city, near the hospital, there are big crowds in the
thousands shouting revenge as many militant fire machine guns in the air.
Thousands of angry young men have gathered in different part of the city
to denounce and protest the vicious crime committed by Israel.
This July summer night in Gaza already sounds like a city at war. Angry
militants and young men are firing their machine guns everywhere in the
city to the point where it is risky to stand next to any window. No exaggeration.
Bullets are being fired everywhere with sheer intensity and anger.
The atmosphere is filled with winds of anger and revenge. One time you
hear a noisy intense machine gun firing in the east side and a minute later
you hear heavy firing coming from the west side or the north one. The dark
night has turned into nothing but noisy sounds and red flashy traces of
fired bullets in the sky.
Definitely, the coming days will carry with them many news; most likely
tragic ones because of this senseless, reckless an inexcusable air strike
on a six stoery civilian building in the midst of a residential neighborhood
in Gaza City.
Reported by B. Samed
July 23rd., 2002
Gaza City, Palestine