From the New York Times:
But there were several children in another intensive care unit on Tuesday. Among them was Ismael Hamdan, 8, who had severe brain damage as well as two broken legs, according to a doctor there. Earlier that day, two of his sisters, Lama, 5, and Hayya, 12, were killed.
“I prepared them breakfast that day in the garden,” said their mother, Ayda, 36. “They had the tea, bread and thyme. Lama wanted a second pita, but we all teased her saying, ‘Keep it for lunch.’ She told us, ‘Don’t worry, God will provide us with bread.’
“She made all of us laugh,” the mother said. “I cleaned after them and collected the garbage. Ismael volunteered to dump the garbage, but Hayya and Lama joined him. The garbage can is in front of the house, a five-minute walk away. All of a sudden I heard the news from a neighbor, and I ran barefoot to the hospital. A relative collected the bodies of Lama and Hayya on a donkey cart.
“The neighbors ran trying to save Ismael, who was the only one breathing,” she said. “They say my kids flew 40 meters before hitting the ground.”
Ismael died Wednesday night.
And another account:
‘They’re bringing them in, they’re bringing them in’, we hear people say. I expect to see a wailing ambulance come veering round the corner, instead a cantering donkey pulling a rickety wooden cart vaults up to the hospital gate. Its cargo three blackened children carried by male relatives. They hoist their limp and contorted bodies into their arms and run in to the hospital. Their mother arrives soon after by car, running out in her bare feet to the doors.
Haya Talal Hamdan aged 12 was brought into the main emergency ward and lain down. She was soon covered with a white sheet, as her mother, comforted by relatives disintegrated into pieces. Ismaeel aged 9 came in breathing, his chest pushing up and down quickly as doctors hurriedly examined his shrapnel flecked body.
In the emergency operating theatre was Lamma, aged just 4. Opening the door, I saw a doctor giving her CPR, again and again, trying to bring her to life, but it was too late. She died in front of us.
Lamma’s mother blamed herself, ‘I asked them to take out the rubbish, to take out the rubbish, I should never have asked them to take out the rubbish’. A female relative was livid with disbelief, ‘She hadn’t even started school! We were, sleeping, and they call us the terrorists? How could they cut down this child with an F16?’
Doctor Hussein, a surgeon at Beit Hanoun Hospital said the cause of death was ‘multiple internal injuries and internal bleeding’. Their fatal injuries were consistent with their bodies having been ‘thrown up and down in the air 10 meters’.
Outside the hospital I turn around and see a young girl, maybe 10 years old, in a long skirt and slightly too big for her jacket. She’s beautiful, with straggly brown air and deep brown eyes. She’s on her own which is rare for any child here, they always stick together and move together. She looks eeriely alone, in the car-less empty street. I say hi and smile and she comes over and we shake hands, and I’m struck after the violence of the death of Lemma and Haya, and turmoil and out of control grief of the hospital at how vulnerable she is and how uncertain anything is about her future.
After the hospital, we made our way to the scene of the strike – Al Sikkek Street, close to the Erez Crossing. Two large craters around 6 meters in diameter and 20 meters apart scared an empty wasteland between a row of houses. One had turned into a lake; the missile downed power lines had smashed into a water pipeline, now spewing fresh water into the crater. Iman, 12 years old, a tough, long haired tom-boy wearing a wooly hat and jeans, witnessed the whole attack. She took us up the roof of her house to point out where and how and what she saw.
At the second crater, next to two green wheelie bins, we see a twisted bicycle and wooden cart, mangled together with plastic bags of rubbish that the children never got to dump. There is still blood on the ground. Crowds of young men gather to stare into the craters, and point to the gushing water mixing with sewage. They also point out a blasted building near by – its corner missing – a casualty of a 2007 Israeli missile attack.
We walk back to the main street, now lined with solemn male, mourners, in groups talking quietly or looking listlessly at us. Iman explains to us, ‘I always ask God for me to become a martyr like the other children. My mother is always asking why, but they’re killing children here all the time, and if I die, then I prefer to be a martyr, like the others. Even it’s better to die than live a life like this here’.