'They killed my son. Why? There will be no answer'

Members of the family which lost four generations in one Israeli attack tell Kim Sengupta of a loss which has left them in despair

The bodies of the two children were carried cradled to the graves, tiny bodies shrouded in green cloth bearing revolutionary as well as Koranic inscriptions; personal grief cannot be separated from political symbolism in this grim conflict. People stood and wept. Among them a man with a loudhailer shouted "Do children fire rockets?" The crowd roared back "No, they are the innocents."

Four generations of the Daloo family had been wiped out by the missiles which tore through their home, collapsing the three-storey building on itself, leaving little chance for those inside to survive. Of the nine who died, Amina Matar Muzanar was the eldest at 83, and Ibrahim Mohammed, two years old, was the youngest.

These were collateral damage of the type the Israeli military says it is trying so hard to avoid as it pounds Gaza day after day; yesterday afternoon the toll of Palestinian fatalities was 100, including 53 civilians, with one of the latest deaths taking place during two air strikes, one of which hit the city's media centre for the second time in the last 24 hours.

The target, according to officials in Tel Aviv, was a leader of the Islamic Jihad movement, Ramez Harb, the head of its publicity section, who was at a computer shop in the building.

The attack on the Daloo home was also targeting a militant leader, say the Israelis. The Vice-Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon announced at a press conference in Jerusalem on Sunday that the "chief of Hamas's rocket unit" had been eliminated. The man was named as Yahya Abayah, who it is claimed had been directing the salvoes which had been hitting the Jewish state for weeks and was living at the house.

But there is no one of that name in the Daloo family and Yahya Abayah is not among the dead. The next explanation from Tel Aviv was that the rocket chief was hiding in the house. Yoav Mordechai, the chief spokesman for the Israeli Army, stated later that although he was unaware of the outcome of the operation, "there were civilians harmed by this".

Two Israeli newspapers, Haaretz and Maariv, reported that the army had fired at the wrong house. The army said it was launching an investigation into what happened. Brigadier-General Asaf Agmon, a former air force officer, stated that mistakes can happen when intelligence is faulty or an aircraft misfires.

Jamal Daloo, the head of the family, sat on a plastic chair yesterday next to what had been their home, as mourners came to offer their condolences, embracing him, whispering words of comfort into his ears. Digging continued nearby into the rubble for his 16-year-old girl, Yara, who was still missing. Among the confirmed dead were his wife, son and daughter-in-law, a sister and four grandchildren.

"What they are saying, the Israelis, are lies, they can pretend all they like" said Mr Daloo, his eyes red with crying. "There were no senior Hamas people in our house; no one was hiding there. They killed Mohammed, he was my son. He was an ordinary policeman; he was not involved in firing rockets or anything like that.

"I have had to bury so many members of my family, my grandchildren. What words can I say about that? I can ask why they did this, but there will be no answer. They do not care about peoples' lives."

Hatem al-Daloo, another member of the family, added: "Not only was no one of that name living here, we haven't even heard of such a person. This is rubbish, just an excuse because they have killed so many people who were all civilians."

There were other families in mourning in Gaza yesterday. Ahed Kitai was killed as he tried to move his neighbours to safety following a missile strike early in the morning. His wife, who is pregnant, sat in a huddle with her six children, crying. A cousin, Haitham Abu Zour, lost his wife in the same attack. "I thought my children were also dead; we couldn't find them. But Allah be praised, at least they are alive."

Abdurrahman Fayez, a teacher, lost his 16-year-old brother, Abdelrashid, in the first day of Israel's Operation Pillar of Defence. "I used to think we were so lucky not to have anyone die in my family the last time they attacked this place. But this time…

"Now we just wait. How many have we lost so far, a hundred? There will be more, we know that. And why is this taking place? Because the Israelis are having an election soon and their leaders want to look tough."

News
Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.
peopleThe idea has been greeted enthusiastically by the party's MPs
News
Michael Buerk in the I'm A Celebrity jungle 2014
people
Voices
File: David Cameron offers a toast during a State Dinner in his honour March 14, 2012
voicesAnd nobody from Ukip said babies born to migrants should be classed as migrants, says Nigel Farage
Arts and Entertainment
Avatar grossed $2.8bn at the box office after its release in 2009
filmJames Cameron is excited
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
Stik on the crane as he completed the mural
art
News
Happy in his hat: Pharrell Williams
people
Arts and Entertainment
Stella Gibson is getting closer to catching her killer
tvReview: It's gripping edge-of-the-seat drama, so a curveball can be forgiven at such a late stage
News
Brazilian football legend Pele pictured in 2011
peopleFans had feared the worst when it was announced the Brazil legand was in a 'special care' unit
News
i100(More than you think)
Sport
Brendan Rodgers seems more stressed than ever before as Liverpool manager
FOOTBALLI like Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
News
The Magna Carta
archaeologyContemporary account of historic signing discovered
News
Phyllis Dorothy James on stage during a reading of her book 'Death Comes to Pemberley' last year
peopleJohn Walsh pays tribute to PD James, who died today
Sport
Benjamin Stambouli celebrates his goal for Tottenham last night
FOOTBALL
Life and Style
Dishing it out: the head chef in ‘Ratatouille’
food + drinkShould UK restaurants follow suit?
News
peopleExclusive: Maryum and Hana Ali share their stories of the family man behind the boxing gloves
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - OOP, Javascript, HTML, CSS, SQL

£39000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - OOP, Javascript, HTML,...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial / Residential Property - Surrey

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: SURREY MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Programme - Online Location Services Business

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: What do you want to do with your career? Do yo...

Recruitment Genius: Senior QC Scientist

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company is a leading expert in immunoassa...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game