AL-QARARA, Gaza Strip: Mohammed Abu Amra and his wife, Marwa, had not even finished their honeymoon when they found themselves without a house, after Israeli warplanes turned the family building in Al-Qarara in the southern Gaza Strip to rubble.
Mohammed, 34, had worked and saved to pay for his wedding and apartment for three years. In moments, it was gone.
Since Wednesday, Mohammed, Marwa, and his large family of 20 have been crammed into a small shack, after Israel escalated activities in Gaza after the assassination of a senior military leader of the group Islamic Jihad.
“We became displaced, and the work of years now lies in the ruins of the house, with all our furniture, possessions, even our identity papers,” Mohammed told Arab News.
The couple were dreaming of a calm and stable life. Mohammed is in shock, and does not know what to expect in the coming days, while his bride Marwa suffered “severe psychological trauma” after the attack. “I dreamed that my happiness would last with my wife, that the honeymoon would be completed and that our days would become more beautiful, but the work of years was destroyed,” he said.
With sadness and pain, Mohammed remembers the moment of the bombing of his house, built by his father three decades ago to house his children and grandchildren.
“That night, my father’s cell phone rang from someone who identified himself as an Israeli Defense Force (IDF) officer, who asked my father to leave the house within seven minutes,” he added.
Hamouda Abu Amra, Mohammed’s father, took up the tale of the fateful night.
“At that point, I only had minutes to save my family. I screamed at them to evacuate, and rushed to the neighbors.
“I received a second call from the officer, who told me that they would bomb the house within two minutes. Then I remembered that Mohammed and his bride were still in their apartment. I rushed and brought them out with nothing but the clothes they had on.”
Israel has been bombing the Gaza Strip since the 2014 war, informing residents of the need to evacuate minutes before destroying targets.
“We gathered, my family and my neighbors, 200 meters from the house. A drone fired a warning missile, then a warplane fired two missiles,” Hamouda said.
The IDF launched an operation in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday last week, with the assassination of the commander of the northern Al-Quds Brigades, the military arm of Islamic Jihad, Bahaa Abu Al-Atta and his wife.
Thirty-four Palestinians, including eight children and three women, have since been killed and 109 others injured. The Ministry of Public Works and Housing in Gaza announced that Israeli airstrikes destroyed had 30 housing units completely and 500 others partially were damaged.