Gaza, ALRAY - Although five years have passed after Israel’s 2008-2009 aggression under so-called Operation Cast Lead, Palestinians in Gaza have yet to collect their pieces.
Still they remember the very scenes of the 22-day-long war which brunt didn’t spare humans, stones, or even trees.
On this day five years ago, the Israeli warplanes rained while phosphorus bombs on a Gaza school run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees.
The air attacks caused horrific human casualties among the people who fled their bombing-risked homes to take refuge in the school, leaving 41 Palestinians dead and many injured with different levels of body burns, while many others were infected with physical disabilities.
Since then, the Al Fakhoora school, which lies in Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza Strip remained a witness to Israel’s inhuman violence for the huge amount of bombs used against this civilian facility and the people inside.
The incident also stands as a witness to Israel’s arbitrariness, as it didn’t mind that the UNRWA informed the Israel Defense Forces of the coordinates of all of the schools it’s running to avoid being targeted.
Iyad Abu Askar, whose home was targeted in the shelling describes to ALRAY reporter that day as “gloomy”.
Remembering the moments before the Israeli fighter jets hit his home, he said “before the sunset of Tuesday, all the residents next door to Al Fakhoora school, my family and me were evacuating our homes for fear of being targeted; just minutes later, our home got shelled by the Israeli artillery stationed to the northern border of North Gaza governorate,”
The shelling led to the killing of my brother, Khaled, 21, Imad, 16, and my cousin aged 28, Iyad said.
“I couldn’t bear seeing my brother Khaled with the shrapnel sweeping his body and my cousin with his torn apart leg and bleeding neck,” he followed.
“These scenes still are still fresh in my mind as well as all those who lost their loved ones,” he said, adding that all the affected families from the Al Fakhoora bombing “are going to hold a sit-in in the locality to demand the world to punish the perpetrators of the heinous massacre,”
Fayez Quddas, who was injured in the bombing, recounts to ALRAY “the was raging while were living a state of horror from Israel’s unguided strikes,” he said.
“Our home was showered with shells without a notice,” he said. “Before I fell unconscious, I cannot remember but my friend Khader Zeidan who was injured in the head and died, and my brother Abed, 29,”
“I feel that pain every day. I am now disabled as a result of pieces of shrapnel that hit my left leg and right side,” he said.
At approximately 3:30 on the afternoon of Tuesday, January 6, 2009, the Israeli artillery targeted Al Fakhoora UN school in the Jabalya refugee camp in northern Gaza Strip with three shells that landed on the school and its environs.
The shell remnants led to the death of more than 42 people, including 14 children. One of the shells landed on the home of Deeb family, killing 10 of its members, including 4 children.
The Al Fakhoora school was not a safe haven to the 1.800 terrified people of the Jabalya refugee camp who fled to it fearing their unprotected homes.
Photos by: Getty Images, AFP
Funeral prayer for the 41 Palestinians massacred in the shelling