“Mom, we want to have dinner,” this was the last request made by Yusuf Musa, along with his brother, to their mother, Rawan. She rushed to fulfill her sons’ request before Israeli occupation rockets struck their home in the town of Khan Yunis in the Gaza Strip.
Yusuf’s aunt, Raghad Saleh, who lives in Egypt, narrated the event of her nephew’s death,
Yusuf’s father is a doctor at Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis city, south of the Gaza Strip, and he hadn’t returned home since the beginning of the war. My sister Rawan lives with her two sons in their home in Khan Yunis.
Yusuf’s father called his family from time to time to check on them. His humanitarian duty in treating the injured keeps him away from us during these catastrophic times in Gaza.
While Yusuf’s mother was preparing dinner their neighborhood came under heavy shelling. Israeli missiles penetrated the house, killing Yusuf.
“My sister’s house has four floors. My sister, her husband, and their children live on the third floor. The Israeli missile penetrated the fourth floor, where my sister’s husband’s brother lives, and it also penetrated the third floor, where my sister’s home is located, causing a powerful explosion,” Raghad explained.
The ceiling of their home collapsed on Yusuf. My sister searched for her sons and found one, but she couldn’t find little Yusuf,” Raghad said.
After the arrival of the civil defense teams, they found my sister and her son. She told them that her son Yusuf was trapped inside. They searched tirelessly and finally found him under the rubble. They quickly took him to Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis city.
‘His Hair was Curly and Sweet’
A video of a Palestinian woman with a pale face covered in dust and dirt, carrying a bag on her back, accompanied by a doctor in green medical attire, and a young child searching for his brother at Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis city went viral on countless news channels and social media platforms.
The mother cried out and asked everyone in the hospital about her son, “His hair is curly and sweet,” but to no avail, she couldn’t find Yusuf.
Yusuf’s mother and father, who was caring for patients at the time, searched for their child among many wounded who were lying on the floor of the hospital. Yusuf’s father was the first to identify his son among the victims. Video footage showed his unwavering composure, while his wife and other son broke down.
Yusuf’s grandmother, Hajja Aida Abdel Aziz, said that after finding Yusuf,
Yusuf’s mother tried to see him, but the hospital staff prevented her. They wanted her to remember him in his beautiful image, to always have in her mind Yusuf, the sweet, curly-haired boy, before his body was disfigured by the Israeli missiles.
Hajja Aida added,
Yusuf’s little brother clung to his father, crying, ‘I want Yusuf, I want to see him,’ and he continues to weep to this day, as he had never experienced Yusuf’s absence for even a moment. How will he ever endure his eternal absence?
Yusuf’s grandmother remembered the child saying,
Yusuf loved drawing and always sent his drawings to me, asking me to visit Gaza. He dreamed of becoming an engineer, but now he has earned his martyrdom, and my daughter is honored to be the mother of a martyr.
‘Yusuf’s Father Continues His Work in Treating the Injured
Yusuf’s father is still on duty, treating the wounded and injured at Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis. He stated in an interview,
I am continuing my work as a doctor at Nasser Hospital. My duty now is not to mourn my child but to provide treatment to the wounded and injured, working to treat them in the difficult circumstances that Gaza is going through.
The Ministry of Health announced that, since the beginning of the Israeli aggression on Gaza, over 3,500 children have been killed, with more than 950 children still buried under the rubble of destroyed homes.
Abdallah Aljamal is a Gaza-based journalist. He is a correspondent for The Palestine Chronicle in the Gaza Strip.