Voices From The Occupation
On 18 November 2012, a 10-year-old boy is killed along with his father when the water truck they are travelling in is destroyed by an Israeli drone in Gaza.
Ten-year-old Ashour lived with his family in the Jabalia refugee camp, north Gaza. His father Suheil worked distributing mineral water to households in Gaza. “He did not have a fixed schedule,” explains Ashour’s uncle, Ali. “He would deliver clean water in his truck whenever the customers called him.”
On Sunday, 18 November 2012, Suheil went to distribute water at around 3:30 p.m. with his son Ashour. “Suheil used to take his sons when they didn’t have school or homework to help him,” says Ali. “Drone planes were flying overhead.” At around 4:30 p.m., Ali’s neighbour came to tell him he had heard that a truck similar to Suhail’s had been targeted by the Israelis in Beit Lahiya. “I got really worried so I immediately called Suheil but he did not answer,” Ali recalls. “I kept calling for like three or four minutes until someone picked up. He said he was a paramedic, but then the call dropped out because the signal was weak.”
Ali asked his neighbour to take him to Beit Lahiya to the site of the incident. “As we approached, I saw many people gathered around a vehicle that had been bombed. I recognized the vehicle. It was Suheil’s. I saw the water tank in the back and saw that the front had been hit.” Ali was told that the bodies had been taken to the morgue. “I rushed to the morgue and found Suheil’s body. He had been dismembered. Only the upper part of his body was there. I started crying. Then, I heard people saying that his son had been also killed. I was really shocked. The man in charge of the morgue opened another draw and I recognized Ashour. His face was burned and his body was covered with shrapnel wounds.”
“I was told that Suhail and Ashour were targeted by a drone, and that there were no fighters nearby,” says Ali. “Suheil’s other four children, Isra’ (17), Malak (14), Mo’men (12) and Batoul (4) are always crying and have nightmares, especially Malak and Mo’men,” says Ali. “The little one, Batoul, keeps asking me, ‘where’s daddy? where’s Ashour?’ and I tell her they’re in heaven. Their father died while working in tough conditions so he could feed them.”