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Trauma of Israeli airstrike haunts Gaza family

March 22, 2012 3:06 P.M. (Updated: March 27, 2012 12:33 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The traumatized relatives of a 12-year-old boy killed by an Israeli airstrike say they are scared to leave their homes since his death.

"We are scared to go out, and find a part of Ayoub's body on a tree, in the street, in the garden. Since the attack, we all sleep in the same room, with all the children because we are afraid."

Ayoub Asalia was struck by an Israeli drone as he chased a puppy on his way to school in Gaza on March 11.

Ayoub's relative, Kalthum Asalia, told the Palestinian Center for Human Rights that she was watching him play with his 5-year-old cousin when she heard a drone buzz overhead followed by a huge explosion.

She moved away from the window, and then returned to see half Ayoub's body -- his upper torso -- face down in he ground.

Neighbors called for Ayoub's mother, Adila, but she did not recognize his clothes and continued to search for her son, eventually assuming he had gone to school. A paramedic later found Ayoub's lower torso in trees and bushes nearby.

Adila told PCHR she hasn't been able to make breakfast for her children since Ayoub's death, since she "faces a hole" when she looks at the table.

He was her sixth son, and a helpful child, she said. "He was funny, always telling jokes and everybody loved him."

"How can a child face a rocket?"

PCHR said there were no fighters in the area at the time of Ayoub's killing. The targeting and killing of a child is a war crime, it said in a statement.

On March 9, Israel assassinated the secretary-general of the Popular Resistance Committees and a former prisoner in Gaza City, and four days of heavy shelling followed. Militants in Gaza responded with a barrage of cross-border rocket fire.

Some 26 Palestinians were killed, including two children, and 20 children were injured, PCHR says.
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