Testimonies of Mu’az Subuh and Baraa Subuh
Military fires missiles at four buildings late at night, killing 46 people (part 4)
In two adjacent buildings, 22 members of the al-Kolak (al-Qolaq) family were killed:
In one building, eight members of the family were killed:
In the adjacent building, 14 members of the family were killed:
In the third building, which belongs to the Abu al-‘Oaf family, 22 people were killed:
In the fourth building, the al-Ahlam building, about 500 meters away, two occupants were killed:
- Some members of the famimly spell their name with a K (al-Kolak), while others spell it with a Q (al-Qolaq).
Testimony of Buthaynah Ibrahim Na’im al-Qumo’, 47, a mother of five who lost her husband in the incident:
We lived in the Abu al-‘Oaf building. It was a four-story building and we lived on the fourth floor. We rented the 180-meter apartment about five months ago. My husband and I lived there with our sons Muhammad, 18, and Khaled, 12, as well as our son ‘Adel, 26, his wife and their baby, who’s eight months old.
On Saturday night, my son ‘Adel and his wife went to visit her parents. After midnight, at 12:30, I told my husband and sons to go to bed already, that they should rest and forget about the airstrikes. My sons and I went to our rooms, and my husband stayed in the living room. I picked up my phone and suddenly heard several very loud explosions. The house started swaying from side to side.
As I ran to the boys’ room, I saw the walls begin to crack. The whole house was full of dust and gravel. I opened the door to the boys’ room, which is next to mine, and shouted for my husband to come help us. He didn’t respond. I went into their room. Muhammad ran into my arms and Khaled was lying on his bed. A few seconds later, another missile landed on the building. Muhammad and I fell to the floor, and debris fell on us. I heard Khaled shout, “Help, Mom, my hand is broken!” I told him to shout loudly so I could hear he was okay, because I couldn’t see him. I kept hugging Muhammad the whole time.
The wall and the roof fell on me, and the wardrobe fell on Muhammad. I asked Muhammad if he had his phone and he said yes. He called his uncle Hassan al-Qumo’ and his sister Ghadir. He told them, “Our house has been bombed and we’re buried under the rubble. We can’t hear Dad’s voice.”
I started to choke because of the debris from the roof covering me. I had no air. Muhammad tried to help me out, but he couldn’t. We stayed under the rubble for almost three hours. Muhammad held his phone up with a stick to help the rescue team locate us.
At some point, I blacked out. I woke up at -Shifaa Hospital and asked where my sons and husband were. It turned that Muhammad was in the bed next to me. I held his hand. After an hour, Khaled came to visit me and I was thrilled when I saw him standing there. I had bruises all over my body and blood clots. I’m still suffering from the bruising. Muhammad had bruises on both legs. Khaled’s condition is more complicated, because he has a fracture in his right arm and nerve damage in his hand, in addition to the bruises. He’s still being treated and may need surgery.
In the morning, I asked the nurses about my husband. They told me he was okay, that he only had a broken leg and was in surgery. Then I asked again, and my son-in-law told me he was in the ICU because he’d inhaled dust and a lot of smoke, and the doctors wanted to keep him under observation. I told them I wanted to see him, but they told me that his condition didn’t allow it and it wasn’t possible to talk on the phone with patients in the ICU.
I was discharged from hospital and when I asked again to see my husband, they told me that it would be better to go home first and come later to see him. I went to my parents’ house, changed clothes and told my family that I wanted to go back to the hospital. I noticed their expressions were strange. I asked them if anything had happened, because I felt something was wrong. I said, “Tell me what happened.”
My sister Sanaa hugged me and said, “Be strong. May God give you patience and compensate you.” I collapsed immediately, because I understood Hazem had been killed. I immediately went to his parents’ house, where I saw him. He looked like he was asleep, as if he would wake up any time soon. I hugged him and screamed, “Wake up, Hazem!” My children broke down. Those were the most harrowing moments we’ve ever been through.
In the first days, Khaled, Muhammad and I stayed with my parents in the a-Daraj neighborhood of Gaza City. My son ‘Adel rented an apartment to live in with his wife. Two weeks ago, I also rented an apartment in the a-Rimal neighborhood. Khaled doesn’t want to move there. His condition isn’t good – physically or mentally. He’s scared and stayed at my parents’ house, where he feels safer around his uncles. He doesn’t want to turn the light off at night, and he’s also scared to go to the bathroom alone and asks his cousins to accompany him. He’s afraid there’s going to be another bombing. He’s also refusing therapy. He went to one meeting and decided he didn’t want to go again. I’m very worried about him and about his future. How will he continue his life? He was very attached to his father and is finding the loss very difficult.
Muhamad is a high school student at the al-Azhari school and is studying for his matriculation exams. He’s in a bad state mentally, too. We left home with nothing, not even his books and the exam forms. I hope he gets through this period and passes the exams without failing.
My financial situation is tough. I lost my gold jewelry, all the furniture and about 1,000 shekels (~USD 306) that were in the apartment. My family and friends are helping me furnish the new house and pay the rent.
I miss Hazem all the time. He meant everything to me. There’s no life in the house without him. It’s just an empty space and walls. Now I’m alone and all the responsibility lies with me. Sometimes, I think it would’ve been better if I’d died with him. Hazem was a man with a big heart, and he was full of compassion for me and for our girls. Our daughter Rada was very close to him. She got married and left home, but he visited her all the time. Rada cries all the time and says how much she misses him.
I pray for God to have mercy on us and help me bear this loss. The Israeli military attacked our home for no reason. They didn’t even warn us before the bombing. Suddenly, our house blew up while we were inside. I keep thinking, why did they even bomb our house and rob me of my husband and the children of their father?
- Testimony given to Olfat al-Kurd on 6 June 2021