Military missiles kill two brothers working in their family’s chicken coop
The persons killed

Munzer ‘Abd al-Karim Muhammad Barakah, 21
Manar ‘Abd al-Karim Muhammad Barakah, 18

Testimony of ‘Abd al-Karim Barakah, 65, a father of seven including Munzer and Manar:

In 1999, I rented a 14-dunam [1 dunam = 1,000 sq. meters] plot of land in the al-Musha’ala area in southeastern Deir al Balah. I built three chicken coops on the land. One of them has 3,000 chicks, the other has 3,500, and in the third I keep chickens for sale. On the rest of the plot, I planted palm trees, olive trees and grapevines.

On Tuesday evening, 11 May 2021, I was with my sons Munzer and Manar on our land. We went there despite the war because the chicks needed care. The atmosphere was tense that night. There were airstrikes all the time and drones hovering over us. We sat down under an olive tree, a few meters away from the coops. Munzer said he and Manar would go turn on the gas heaters in the coops to keep the chicks warm, and then come home.

Manar was terrified of the airstrikes and held his brother’s hand. They headed to the coop and I stayed under the tree. Everything was dark because there was no power in the area at the time. When they were both 20 meters away from me, the bombings suddenly intensified and they shouted to me that they were leaving. I called out to them, “Leave everything and go home.” Meanwhile, some bales of straw caught fire and I got up quickly to put it out. As I was putting it out, I heard a loud explosion.

About 45 minutes later, I was done putting out the fire and called out to my sons, but they didn’t answer. I went in the direction they’d gone and then found them lying side by side about 30 meters away. I sat down next to them and put Munzer’s head on my leg. I called, “Munzer, Munzer,” but he didn’t respond. So I left him and started talking to Manar. I called his name, but he didn’t respond either.

Manar and Munzer Barakah

I shouted as loud as I could for my neighbors to come, and some members of the Khsewan family, who live nearby, arrived. They picked my children up and took them to the house of a family member who lives 100 meters from the coop. Fifteen minutes later, a Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance arrived and took my sons to Shuhada al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah. When we got to the hospital, the doctors examined them and pronounced them dead. We buried them the next day at noon.

Munzer and Manar left school in the sixth grade and have worked in the coops with me ever since. They raised the chicks to adulthood and then sold them. They took care of the whole financial side of the business.

Recently, I started building an apartment above my house for Munzer, because he started talking about marriage. His mother really wanted him to get married. She’s has diabetes and high blood pressure, and she was afraid that something would happen to her and she wouldn’t be able to attend the wedding if he waited too long.

Since our boys were killed, things at home have been very tough. My wife is suffering immensely. I take her to the doctor almost every day. She has anxiety attacks and screams and cries a lot, especially when people come to console her.

  • Testimony given to Khaled al-‘Azayzeh on 26 May 2021
‘Abd al-Karim Barakah, 65, a father of seven including Munzer and Manar
'Abd al-Karim Barakah

I sat down next to them and put Munzer’s head on my leg. I called, “Munzer, Munzer,” but he didn’t respond. So I left him and started talking to Manar. I called his name, but he didn’t respond either.