At 4 p.m. last Friday, residents of the Palestine apartment building on Al-Shohada Street in Gaza were eating, sleeping or relaxing on their day off.

Then the Israelis hit the compound from above.

Their target was a man called Tayseer al Jabari who was visiting relatives on the sixth floor.

He was a senior commander of the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad, the second largest such organization in the Gaza Strip.

Al Jabari was killed in the attack.

But the military commander was not the only person in the building. There are several apartments in this 14-storey structure, including one belonging to the Abu Ramadan family. They lived just below.

The Abu Ramadan family’s apartment was destroyed

We saw the remains of their apartment. The twisted frame of their front door had held its place, but the rest had been completely destroyed.

The living room couch was torn and covered in chunks of concrete and there were large holes in the ceiling where the neighbors’ apartment had fallen into the Abu Ramadans’ apartment.

We found family members at Al Shafa Hospital in Gaza City. Neveen Abu Ramadan, 50, was lying on a bed, her body covered with multiple shrapnel wounds.

Doctors are particularly worried about his left leg.

Her mother, Rabab, lifted a sheet and showed us Neveen’s swollen limb, discolored in various shades of purple and blue. The doctors think they will probably have to amputate it.

I asked Neveen how she felt. “It’s a tragedy,” she said. “I still wonder why I’m alive. I just don’t believe it. I’m still in shock, you know we’re civilians.”

The aftermath of the attack was filmed by a local cameraman
The aftermath of the attack was filmed by a local cameraman

Grandmother Rabab decided to tell us the story.

“She and her husband were sleeping on their (fronts) in the afternoon, with two daughters and two sons in the bedroom. They heard the ceiling, broken on their backs and her back is injured.”

“The ceiling fell on them?” ” I said.

“Yes, and also the ground collapsed on their neighbours. So they fell on their neighbours.

“Fifth to fourth floor, it’s broken. Their two sons brought them out, bleeding, bleeding, bleeding.”

One of Neveen’s daughters, Islam, 29, was having surgery while we were there.

She suffered from internal bleeding and doctors at Al Shafa Hospital are trying to remove the blood clots that have formed in her body.

The aftermath of this attack was filmed by a local cameraman. In his photos, we see residents gathering in front of the entrance. Some are worn – others go out on their own – but everyone looks traumatized and covered in dust.

The Abu Ramadan family lived just below the targeted apartment
The Abu Ramadan family lived just below the targeted apartment

The Israelis say they are doing everything they can to avoid civilian casualties, but that is not a realistic proposition when targeting buildings like the Palestinian building.

The Ministry of Health in Gaza says 44 people have died in the three days of fighting that began last Friday.

More than 350 others were injured. A ceasefire agreement, brokered by the Egyptians, seems to be holding and something like normality has returned to the Gaza Strip.

But life will never be the same for the Abu Ramadans, who had managed to live peacefully in the Palestinian compound for the previous 29 years.

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