Jobs @ MG
Its all-out war
By Wafa Amr
|Ramallah (Reuters) - My three-year-old
daughter woke up screaming in terror, covered with shards of broken glass.
Our apartment building shook violently on Friday evening as missiles fired
from an Israeli warplane whistled past and demolished a Palestinian
security compound just across the street from us on the edge of the West
Bank city of Ramallah. The deafening impact of the blast caved in the
windows of our third-floor apartment, tore doors off their hinges and
peeled steel frames away from concrete walls.
As a journalist covering the nearly eight-month-old Palestinian uprising
against Israeli occupation, I had grown accustomed to scenes of violence.
We had also become used to nightly Israeli shelling around Ramallah, but
this was different. It was the first time since the 1967 Middle East war
that Israel had unleashed its F-16 fighter-bombers against Palestinian
‘Look mummy, I am covered with glass,’ Laila cried. Relieved that she
was unhurt, I snatched a blanket, covered her, and rushed to safety
carrying her in my arms, afraid that more strikes would follow. I
scrambled for my cellular telephone to report the attack to my office in
Jerusalem as my neighbors and I evacuated the building.
Across the street, the building that housed members of Palestinian
President Yasser Arafat (news - web sites)'s Force 17 security apparatus
had been reduced to rubble. One policemen was killed and survivors had to
be dug out from beneath piles of debris. At least 14 people were injured.
A nine-year-old boy sitting inside a ground-floor apartment of our
building said he was lifted into the air and thrown against a door by the
force of the blast. I realized Laila and I were lucky to be alive and
Earlier that evening, when I first spotted the F-16 flying low over the
area, casting a shadow over our building, I thought nothing of it. I had
no reason to believe that even with the most sophisticated laser-guided
missiles, an Israeli warplane would attack a target in such a heavily
populated area. But once the air strike began, it hit like an earthquake.
Glass and debris flew everywhere. Telephones lines were cut and
electricity was knocked out, leaving us to face a night of darkness in
that part of the city. Our apartment was so badly damaged it was
uninhabitable. Nearby buildings, including two hotels, were also hard hit.
When my husband, also a journalist, returned, we took Laila to stay with
friends and returned to the scene.
The Israelis' main target was a building that usually housed about a dozen
young Force 17 policemen guarding a checkpoint in Palestinian-ruled
Ramallah at the edge of the Israeli-occupied part of the West Bank.
Israel said the strike on Ramallah and similar attacks elsewhere in the
West Bank and Gaza were in response to a Palestinian suicide bomber who
killed himself and five Israelis in the coastal city of Netanya earlier in
Hundreds of Palestinians who converged on the site watched in horror as
rescue workers recovered the severed body parts of the policeman who had
been sleeping inside the building. An arm and parts of a skull were found.
The area was stained with fresh blood. As darkness descended on the city,
thousands of Palestinians took to the street in an angry march denouncing
the raids. q
Editorial,; related reports 14-15; rewriting
history as Jews want it 18.