‘They Killed My Parents on My Birthday’: Daughter of Assassinated Palestinian Leader Speaks Out (PHOTOS & VIDEO)

Layan Abu al-Ata lost both of her parents on her birthday when an Israeli missile struck their home in Gaza. (Photo: Supplied)

By Wafa Aludaini

Each Israeli attack on Gaza leaves more than dead and wounded, but numerous stories of human endurance and tragedy.

The most recent Israeli aggression on the besieged Gaza Strip began on November 12, when the Israeli government broke the ceasefire by assassinating senior Islamic Jihad commander Bahaa Abu al-Ata and his wife Asma Mohammed as they slept in their home.

Since then, I interviewed many Palestinians who had family members killed or injured in the Israeli attack. They spoke with deep pain and sorrow.

‘It Was My Birthday’

“My birthday candles were replaced by evil Israeli missiles, which killed my smile and my passion for life,” said Layan Abu al-Ata, 11, who lost both of her parents on her birthday.

“We rarely saw our Dad,” Layan told the Palestine Chronicle. “He usually doesn’t sleep at home since he was always chased by the Israeli Occupation.”

“I waited for this day (my birthday) all year and so did my dad. He just wanted to surprise me by his presence on my birthday, but instead, my surprise was his death and the death of my dear mom.”

Layan is the youngest daughter of Bahaa Abu al-Ata, 41, father of 5, and a senior commander in Saray Al-Quds, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad.

He was assassinated on November 12 in the middle of the night while sleeping at home.

An Israeli Occupation army spokesperson said they had been monitoring him for three days. He had just reached his home and entered his bedroom when Israeli missiles struck. The attack killed him, along with his wife. It also injured three of his sons, along with five neighbors.

The Israeli violations of the ceasefire immediately increased tensions between the Palestinian Resistance groups and the Israeli Occupation and put an end to the existing ceasefire agreement.

Vowing that the latest Israeli “crime will not go unpunished,” the Resistance responded with a barrage of rockets targeting Israel, to which the Israeli Occupation, in turn, responded with a series of airstrikes across the Gaza Strip, damaging and destroying homes, businesses, and agricultural fields, resulting in the killing of many Palestinians.

According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza, 34 Palestinians were killed, including eight from one single family.

From Wedding Day to Nightmare

Several newly-married couples were devastated by the Israeli airstrikes, with heartbreaking scenes of widows bidding farewell to their slain husbands caught on film going viral on social media – although largely ignored by mainstream Western media.

 

17-year-old Liza ElBilbisi told the Palestine Chronicle that happiness has completed vanished as she lost her husband of only two months.
ElBilbisi recalled as she wept,

“Last night, he told me that he loved me more than anything and that he would help me achieve all of my dreams.”

Without him by her side, the young bride feels crushed and abandoned.

Ibrahim Aldhabous was also murdered in a targeted Israeli airstrike.

“Just two months ago, we were celebrating his marriage, and now I’m receiving condolences,” his mother remembered.

“He loved the children of the family so much. He remembered all of their birthdays and always brought them presents. Just a few days ago, he gave his niece a new guitar because she had once said she would like to play the guitar.”

Aldhabous used to work in his father’s carpentry shop, but due to the difficult economic situation in Gaza, they were forced to close it. Since then, he worked as a taxi driver.

Several young couples are now spending their ‘honeymoons’ on the rubble of their new homes, destroyed by Israeli fighter jets, as they have no other shelter or money to rent another house.

“I spent years working and saving money to build my house with my beloved wife,” said Mohamed Abu Amrah. “But in a few seconds an Israeli warplane destroyed it, and our hope of a good future along with it.”

(Photos & Video supplied by Wafa Aludaini)

– Wafa Aludaini is a Gaza-based journalist. She heads the youth group 16th October. She contributes regularly to The Palestine Chronicle.

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