"I wish this death and destruction, and this sense of orphanhood, on every home and every family in Israel," said 22-year old Faraj al-Samoni, whose family suffered one of the worst blows of the fighting in Gaza. He told Ynet his story on Thursday.
The al-Samoni household complex in Zaitun neighborhood has been converted into a mourning tent after having been reduced to shambles. "There were 32 homes here, and almost the entire family worked in agriculture," he said.
"But in one morning the family was torn apart. Twenty-nine were killed, including six children – the oldest of whom was five – killed in one blast of fire," he lamented.
Al-Samoni said the child casualties included two infants aged five and nine months. An 82-year old man was also listed among the dead. "How did that old man endanger the lives of soldiers?" al-Samoni asked.
Mosque destroyed in Gaza (Photo: AP)
He recounted the event that caused the deaths of his father, 45, and his four-year old brother. "There were 18 of us in the house when we heard calls from downstairs: 'Landlord come down, open the door'." He said his father had gone downstairs with his hands up and an ID extended, but was shot.
"I saw it from the window," he insisted, "but I couldn't cry out because the soldiers came up. We all sat in the room knowing our father was lying dead downstairs."
Al-Samoni claimed the soldiers then opened fire and hit a number of family members. "My little brother Ahmed was killed in my arms. When they cleared the wreckage and the dead to the hospital I saw two bullet wounds in his chest. I myself was injured in my hand and leg," he said.
He added that the military operation in Gaza did nothing to improve the chances for peace, in his opinion. "This killing brought on hatred that nothing will cure," al-Samoni said, denying that anyone had fired from the home before it was destroyed.
"Does firing justify the tearing apart of dozens of families, the dozens of children left without parents?" he asked. "I pray to Allah that this is what happens to them, to their children and wives," he said, referring to IDF soldiers.
The IDF Spokesperson's Unit responded by stating: "The IDF is currently in the midst of investigations following Operation Cast Lead. Conclusions and recommendations will be formulated upon their termination."