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From the field

IDF shells inhabited area in Beit Lahiya, hits house, wounding four persons, 4 April 2006

Yusef Abu Shmas,

member of the Palestinian National Security Force

Yesterday [Tuesday, 4 March] at around 3:15 P.M., I was sitting with my friend 'Abdallah Isma'il a-D'alseh in a tent about twenty meters from my house. I met 'Abdallah a month and a half ago or so, and let him live in my tent. He ate and drank with us every day.

I left the tent and went to the house to bring lunch. The moment I left the tent, indiscriminate shelling broke out. I saw a shell fall less than fifty meters from me. I lay on the ground and hid behind a high mound of dirt. I stayed there for about half an hour, during which about thirty shells were fired. Shell fragments flew by me all the time. I heard the screams of women coming from the direction of my parents' house and my brother Mustafa's house. I couldn't go and help because I would have been hit and killed if I got up. 'Abdallah left the tent and began to run away because he was frightened, and a shell that fell near him killed him on the spot. I couldn't save him even though I saw what happened. He was less than thirty meters from me.

Around 3:55, the shelling stopped. I ran home and went into the house. I saw blood on the bedroom floor and on the door. I saw a large hole in the ceiling and marks that indicated the shell had landed inside the room. The bed was all in pieces. I didn't find anybody at home. I went to my parents' house, and I didn't find anybody there either. I immediately went to Kamal ' Adwan Hospital , in Beit Lahiya. There, I found my wife Samah. I saw that she had been lightly wounded in the face, and that my son, who is six months old, had been hit a few times in the body. I also found my brother, Mustafa, whose face was full of blood. He told me that his fingers had been severed and that my other brother, Khaled, had been wounded in the head and taken to a-Shifa Hospital, in Gaza City, because he was in very serious condition. I found my friend 'Abdallah in the hospital's morgue.

Yusef Ahmad Salameh Abu Shmas, 26, married and father to a six month baby is a resident of Beit Lahiya, in the northern Gaza Strip, and a member of the Palestinian National Security Force. His testimony was given to Zaki Kahil at Kamal 'Adwan Hospital on 5 April 2006.