November 14, 2019: Salem Rasmi Salem Sawarka, 3, was killed along with his parents and two older brothers, as well as his aunt and two cousins, by an Israeli missile strike that hit their family home on Thursday at dawn.
His little sister, an infant, survived while shielded by her brother’s body. When the bodies were recovered from the rubble by rescue workers, the workers who saved the baby thought that it seemed her brothers died trying to protect her from harm.
The Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza reported that Israeli missiles targeted a Palestinian home in Deir al-Balah, in central Gaza, killing eight members of the same family, and wounding thirteen others.
The Health Ministry stated that Israeli F16 war jets fired missiles into a home in Deir al-Balah, killing eight family members, and wounding at least thirteen others, most of them women and children.
The remains of two more children were found under the rubble after a lengthy search for survivors.
Mohannad’s best friend Mohammed Mehsen, 14, said to reporters with Middle East Eye at his funeral, “We heard the massive explosion at midnight and immediately rushed to their house. I was shocked. Muhannad’s house completely disappeared, as if it had never been there.”
Although Muhannad was two years younger than Mohammed, he was his “closest friend”.
“I knew Muhannad since we were in kindergarten, we were friends and neighbours, and used to go to school together,” the boy said.
“Muhannad and I used to play with our bicycles every day after school, but when it got dark at night, we loved to play hide and seek,” he smiled. “He loved animals and especially dogs, he always wanted to adopt one”
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) has reported that the slain Sawarka (Abu Malhous) family has been officially identified as:
- Rasmi Salem Odah Sawarka, 45.
- Mariam Salem Nasser Sawarka, 45.
- Mohannad Rasmi Salem Sawarka, 12.
- Firas Rasmi Salem Sawarka, 2.
- Salem Rasmi Salem Sawarka, 3.
- Moath Mohammad Salem Sawarka, 7.
- Waseem Mohammad Salem Sawarka, 13.
- Yosra Mohammad Awwad Sawarka, 39.
Only one toddler survived the Israeli attack and was found shielded by her slain brother. She was identified as Farah Rasmi Salem Al Sawarka, sister to Mohannad, 12, Salem, 3, and Firas, 2, who were killed, and the youngest child of Rasmi Salem al-Sawarka, 45, and Mariam Sawarka. Both parents were also killed. Farah is the only surviving family member. Her uncle, Mohammad, also survived the attack with severe injuries, but his wife and two children – Moath, 7, and Waseem, 13, were killed.
The slain and injured Palestinians were moved to the al-Aqsa hospital, while medics and rescue teams started a search campaign, looking for more Palestinians who might be buried under the rubble.
In related news, a six-month pregnant woman, identified as Iman Abu Tayyim, suffered a miscarriage in a severe anxiety attack after the soldiers fired missiles near her home, east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.
The escalation on the Gaza Strip started when Israel assassinated a senior leader of the Islamic Jihad, identified as Baha’ Abu al-‘Ata, when the soldiers dropped a missile on his home, killing him along with his wife, Asma’, also wounding many members of their family, in addition to a female neighbor, in the Sheja’eyya area, east of Gaza city.
Israeli missiles and shells have caused a power blackout after striking main powerlines and transformers, especially in Gaza city and the northern parts of the coastal region, including Jabalia and Beit Lahia.
The deaths of the 8 family members bring the total number of casualties in the three days of Israeli aggression against Gaza to 34. More than 100 have been wounded. Among the wounded are at least 30 children and 13 women. No Israelis have been killed or wounded.
Just after the family was killed, a ceasefire went into effect at 5:30 am on Thursday morning.
Salem was from Deir al-Balah, in central Gaza. Source: IMEMC
For more articles like this, as well as a running count of fatalities on both sides of the conflict, see the Israel/Palestine Timeline