On May 9, the people of Gaza woke up to the sound of bombs as over 40 Israeli warplanes launched an overnight military operation against the Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ). For most people, it was just one more night of terror in the never-ending cycle of Israeli bombardment, but for some families it was the night that would change their lives forever.
Later that afternoon, thousands of people participated in the funeral of 13 of the martyrs at the Omari Mosque in Gaza. Only 3 of the slain were PIJ members, senior leaders of the armed resistance movement in the Gaza City and Rafah areas. The rest were civilian noncombatants, killed while they were asleep in their beds.
The Gaza Ministry of Health released a statement that evening documenting the death toll at 15 people, after 2 more people were killed in Khan Younis south of Gaza, while over 25 people were injured.
The vast majority of the casualties and the injured are civilians, as even the families of the PIJ leaders were targeted, in addition to their neighbors — in a place like Gaza, people are not always aware who their next-door neighbors are in dense residential buildings.
This was what happened with the family of 55-year-old Jamal Khaswan, the owner of a residential building in the al-Rimal area of Gaza. He was killed alongside his wife and his eldest son, a doctor. They were in their home, in the floor above the apartment where Israel killed senior PIJ leader Tareq Ezz al-Din alongside his wife and two children.
In the al-Nakheel area east of al-Shuja’iyya, two young sisters were killed in their beds — Iman Adass, 17, and her sister Diana, 19, who was due to be married next month. The Israeli raids in that area were targeting senior PIJ leader Khalil al-Bahtini, a 45-year-old father of 7. His 4-year-old daughter, Hajer, and his 40-year-old wife, Laila Hiji, were also killed in the strike.
This same scene can be seen all across the Gaza Strip, as civilians are targeted without knowing the reason why, without having engaged in any armed resistance activity. …