Military fires missile at house, killing 14-year-old and 20-year-old walking along street
The persons killed

Ahmad Rami Mahmoud al-Hawajri, 14
Muayad Taysir 'Abd a-Rahman al-Khatib, 20

Testimony of Muhammad al-Khatib, 29, Muayad’s brother:

I live in Block No. 1 with my parents, my brother Muayad and my sister Baraah, 25. My brother Husam, 33, lives on the floor above us with his wife and their daughter Kindah, 9.

On Thursday, 13 May 2021, the first day of ‘Eid al-Fitr, my sister Alaa, 28, came to visit us with her daughter Zahrah, who’s two years old. It was very tense. There were airstrikes all the time, and we were scared because there were lots of drones and we could hear bombing close to al-Bureij Refugee Camp and farther away. 

Shortly before 3:00 P.M., my brother Muayad went to the grocery store, which is about 40 meters away from our house. He asked Alaa if she needed anything. A few minutes later, I went into my room to rest a little and then, suddenly, the glass windows in the house shattered. The doors cracked and thick dust seeped in. We were all stunned and didn’t understand what was going on. My brother Husam and his wife ran down to the ground floor from their apartment. Everyone was yelling and screaming.

We started checking how everyone was doing – who was there, who wasn’t. My sister Alaa said Muayad had left a short while before. My father wanted to go look for him, but I told him I would go. I left the house and ran into one of the neighbors. I asked him if he and his kids were okay, and he said he didn’t know how the kids were yet because everything was covered in dust and rubble. I kept walking down the street and saw fire coming out of the Abu ‘Iyada home. It’s under construction, and it’s about 25 meters south of our house.

I understood that was the house that had been bombed. I saw flames, black smoke and dust rising from it. It was only then that I saw a person lying on the pavement on the northern side of the street, towards the market. He was about 15 meters away from the bombed house. I started walking towards him and when I was about four meters away, I realized it was my brother Muayad. He was lying on his stomach, face down. His right leg was near his head. He was bleeding from the mouth and from the right side of his body. Before I managed to get to him, there was another strike, in almost exactly the same place. I ran home quickly, without thinking, and told the family Muayad had been killed.

Those were very difficult moments. The women cried and screamed. My father went into shock. He only said, “My heart is broken,” and then sat down and started praying to God to have mercy on the martyr and ease our pain and suffering.

When things calmed down, the whole family went to my maternal grandfather’s house. He lives close to us. Then my father and I went to Shuhada al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah. Ten minutes later, an ambulance brought my brother there. My father stayed sitting in the courtyard, and I went into the morgue to say goodbye to my brother and take one last look at him. We returned to my grandfather’s house and ten minutes later, an ambulance brought Muayad’s body there. We said goodbye to him in my grandfather’s house and buried him.

Three days after the fighting stopped, we went back to live in our house, after clearing away the rubble and dust.

After we buried my brother, we heard that the boy Ahmad al-Hawajri had been killed in the same strike, and that he had also been on his way to the grocery store on the street. Another resident from the neighborhood was badly injured. He suffered burns in various parts of his body, including the face. They say he was walking along the street near the house that was bombed. I visited him in hospital, and he told me he had been on his way to see a friend. Another young guy from the neighborhood suffered a leg injury and was transferred to Egypt for treatment. Seven houses near the one that was bombed were badly damaged.

Muayad went to school until grade 12 and then went to work in construction with my father. The whole family relied on him. Anyone who needed anything would ask Muayad. He was also putting some of his salary away to build himself a room and a kitchen and bathroom, above the house, because he wanted to get married and start a family.

  • Testimony given to Khaled al-’Azayzeh on 13 June 2021
Muhammad al-Khatib

It was only then that I saw a person lying on the pavement on the northern side of the street, towards the market. He was about 15 meters away from the bombed house. I started walking towards him and when I was about four meters away, I realized it was my brother Muayad.