Gaza – Um Muhammad Asilah (48) never imagined that Israeli airstrikes would take yet another one of her sons.
This time, it was her 12-year-old son Ayoub’s turn to join his two brothers who were killed after Israeli war planes bombed the surroundings of the Asilah family house east of Jabalia in the northern Gaza strip.
As before, the attack was carried out under the pretext of targeting resistance fighters firing rockets at southern Israeli towns.
The mourning mother could not control her grief when Ayoub’s coffin arrived at the house for the last farewell before his body was laid to rest.
She broke into frantic hysteria, unable to believe her young child would never again return to her.
Distraught, she called out to him, “Ayoub, where are you going without taking your school bag? Don’t go to school without it. Your teacher will punish you.” Then, she burst into tears.
Um Muhammad paused for a moment, lost in thought. Then she shouted at the top of her lungs, “Oh dear God, every year I lose one. What have they done for Israel to kill them? Mercy, dear God, have mercy on us.”
She tried to contain her emotions as she spoke about the last moments she spent with her child: “I woke up early with a feeling that something bad will happen to one of my children,” she said.
“But, as usual,” she said, continuing, “I prepared my son’s lunch before he went to school, sensing it would be the last.”
She prepared the potato sandwiches he asked for.
“My son took the food, ate half of it, and asked me to put the rest away for him because he was late for school,” she said.
With tears pouring down her face, she remembered that “before he left, he looked at me with a smile as if he was bidding me farewell.”
But he would not leave until she promised that she would buy him a new pair of shoes as soon as his father got paid.
A few moments after he walked out of the house, she heard the sound of a missile immediately followed by a loud explosion.
“I instantly felt something bad happened to my son,” she recalled, adding, “I quickly went out and saw his dismembered body. He was dead. I fell to the ground and lost track of what happened after that.”
Overwhelming grief was evident on the faces of those who came to express their condolences, clearly pained by paying their respects to the Asilah family for the third time.
In 2008, her eldest son Muhammad, a member of the Army of Islam, was assassinated in Khan Younis along with four of his comrades.
The Israelis accused them of capturing Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in 2006. His other brother was assassinated by Israeli planes the following year.