Sunday, February 1, 2009

Chaos in Khoza'a

The National (United Arab Emirates), January 30, 2009 - ....The attack on Khoza’a began at 9:30pm on January 12. For over five hours, the village was blanketed by F16s, helicopter gunships and unmanned drones. At 3am on January 13, the second phase of the attack began when Israeli bulldozers trundled up to a cluster of houses on Khozaa’s eastern fringe, a mere 500m from the “green line” separating Gaza from Israel. Scared and confused, the residents of these buildings poured onto their roofs, waving white flags under the cold night sky. “There were over 200 people from 36 families up there calling down to the Israelis,” remembers 29-year-old Iman al Najar.

As their houses were demolished one by one, a stream of people headed 100 metres uphill to the west to a small, grass-strewn courtyard off a paved alleyway, dodging fire on the way. There they were flanked by walls on three sides and sheltered from the surrounding buildings, where IDF special forces had taken up positions. As night ticked away and the small 7m x 10m square filled up with villagers, it became clear that the Israeli soldiers were intent on levelling every house on the eastern street. Rawhiya al Najar, a 50-year-old mother of three, ran back to her street to urge those still in their homes to evacuate. By 7am, when she had reached the last house, all 200 of the former roof-wavers – over half of them children – were now gathered in the courtyard. Trapped between bullets and bulldozers, the villagers had nothing to do but wait.....

See also:
Scenes of Devastation in Khoza'a (Free Gaza Blog, January 17, 2009) with downloadable video interview of villager (Arabic)
"It Was the Hardest Day of Our Lives" (Free Gaza Blog, January 15, 2009)

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