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Man who set self on fire sought help from Gaza govt

Feb. 22, 2013 8:48 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 24, 2013 2:28 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A man who set himself on fire at a government office in the northern Gaza Strip on Thursday, wounding himself and four others, was identified Friday as an out-of-work taxi driver.

Muhammad Namrouti, 43, had been applying for financial aid from the government for two years but never received a response, said his wife in an interview.

“We don’t have even one tomato at home, and we have been going to offices of ministry of social affairs since two years, but in vain,” she told Ma'an on Friday.

On Thursday morning her husband went to the office of the Ministry of Social Affairs to check up on an application he submitted two years ago seeking financial aid.

“He was told to come back in June, and as he heard that response he immediately set himself on fire,” she said.

His wife added: “My husband suffers from meniscus tear and he can’t work. We submitted medical reports to the Ministry of Social Affairs, and they have been haggling since two years,” she said. She highlighted that the family hasn’t received any aid from any organization including UNRWA.

“My husband worked as a taxi driver,” she said adding sarcastically that he actually spent something closer to one day out of 10 working and the rest at home.

The wife pointed out that her family of nine has been living in a rented apartment, but kept moving from one apartment to another because landlords expelled them several times when they failed to pay the rent.

Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said Thursday that four others were wounded in the incident, including two female staff members and an elderly man.

The wounded were taken to Kamal Udwan Hospital and Shifa Hospital, al-Qidra said.
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