By Mohammad al-Astal, IOL Correspondent
GAZA, January 17 (IslamOnline.net) – A few days before Muslims across the world celebrate `Eid Al-Adha, Israeli bullet stole the feast joy from yet another Palestinian family.
The silence of the night was suddenly broken by roaring tank shells, cutting the air, to land on Abu Arram's two storey building in Khan Younis refugee camp in the Gaza Strip.
The red of fire dominated the black of darkness and warm blood started dropping on chilly tiles of the house.
To ordinary people, living in normal conditions anywhere in the world, such a scene only occurs on silver screens, but to Gazans, the hellish nightmare is just another detail of their day-to-day lives.
“Just after Israel's prime minister, Ariel Sharon, told his Cabinet today [Sunday, January 16] that the military had been given orders to act ‘without restrictions’ against Palestinian factions that have stepped up attacks in the roiling Gaza Strip, Israeli tank fire killed a Palestinian man and his mother in the southern Gaza Strip,
” that was the New York Times' account of the bloody night's events.
But seeing the massive destruction on the ground and listening to direct counts of eyewitnesses send a chill down one's spine.
Coming out of the blue, Israeli tanks fired eleven shells towards the houses of Palestinians in the High Dam Area in western Khan Younis refugee camp.
Israeli occupation soldiers, from their military towers at the nearby Gush Qatif settlement bloc, then generously opened fire in the same direction.
Sulaiman Arram's house was the first to receive Israeli tank shells.
Screams, red flames dancing crazily over the fallen building, desperate attempts by neighbors to put out the fire drew an ugly picture of Palestinians’ daily life under the iron fist of Israel's occupation.
The mother screams upon seeing one of the rooms set ablaze, children wake up hurriedly and neighbors assemble while attempts to save lives continue under the rain of tank shells.
Ironically, or maybe significantly enough, 9-year-old Palestinian Rania Arram lost her life three months ago by sniper fire from the same military post.
Abbas wants resistance operations stopped, but can he get Israel to stop firing tank shells at Palestinian homes? (Reuters)
Once the tank shells stopped, family members and neighbors were taking pains to extinguish the fire till firefighters arrived to extend help.
But hell broke loose again, with Israeli bullets showering every one.
Sulaiman, the house owner, fell to the ground covered in his own blood.
His pain screams were deafening, said eye-witnesses fighting their tears while speaking to IOL correspondent.
“We carried the fallen man to the main road from where he was taken to hospital by an ambulance. We then returned to the building to assess the damage that it sustained, along with other neighboring homes hit by tank shells.
“Words fail me. Flames were so monstrous, eating up everything in their way. Dozens of citizens were putting up a heroic show to fight the killer flames, but that was not enough. Only firefighters were eventually able to control the blaze,” Salem Abu Arram, described the scene, saying it was hard to shake the terrifying scene off his mind.
Tens of Palestinians then gathered at the place, located only a hundred meters away from the Jewish Gush Qatif settlement.
Israeli bullets again started showering the crowd indiscriminately.
Only minutes later, Fadhah Attiya Abu Arram, 46, and her son Abdullah, 28, were both killed by bullets in the neck and head respectively.
According to witnesses, the killed mother was, only seconds before, urging her sons and neighbors to put off the fire eating up her house.
A fire of another kind, however, broke out. It was the fire of anger and fury that ripped through the hearts and souls of other family members who witnessed the killing.
Another tip of a massive iceberg. :-X