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Samouni family members found dead in Gaza rubble

International human rights activists have witnessed the recovery of dead members of the Samouni family.

Several bodies of the Samouni family have finally been retrieved, 12 days after an attack by Israeli military forces that led to the death of an unknown number of family members. Red Crescent ambulance crews finally gained access to the Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City on 18 January 2009.

The family was killed in their home by an Israeli air-strike on January 6th, but their bodies could not be recovered until recently due to ongoing Israeli operations in the area.  Seven family members including men, women and children, were retrieved from the rubble.  At least 13 family members are still unaccounted for.

Our ambulance crew set off at 10:20 am to go into the Zeitoun neighborhood.  We haven’t been able to enter the area most days because it’s been sealed by the army.  When we arrived at the Samouni family house, the house was flattened, so the roof was very close to the ground.  We made a hole in the roof and began pulling up bodies for an hour.  We were able to retrieve 7 bodies before the Red Cross asked us to leave, as the army was likely to return to Zeitoun.  There are at least 13 bodies still in the house, as one of the medics had a list of 20 missing family members.

Sharon Lock – International Solidarity Movement

One of the Samouni family children Ahmed Nasser, 10 or 11 years old, came to us at Al Quds hospital in a very bad condition on January 6th.  He had been shot in the chest and needed test tubs.  He told us that all of his family had been taken into a room by the soldiers when they came to their house.  When missiles hit the house, most of the family was killed.  Ahmed’s father is alive, but his mother, sisters and brother are all dead. Ahmed stayed with the bodies of his family members for four days before he was found and brought here.  The first thing he asked for was for bread and water.  Many family members are still missing but today we will know for sure when all of the bodies come in.

Reema Abu Lafi – nurse at Al Quds hospital in Gaza City