“Israel has turned a place of joy into a site of sadness, misery, and tears.” With these words, the young Anas Al-Hayawi described the Israeli massacre in the Tal Al-Qamar wedding hall in the Nuseirat refugee camp, in the heart of the Gaza Strip.
“My uncle, Abu Iyad, hosted dozens of displaced citizens in the Nuseirat camp. He opened the door to the wedding hall he owns next to his house and tried to provide them with a place to sleep, rather than having them sleep on the streets. However, the occupation did not approve of this, and they committed a heinous crime that led to dozens of killed and injuries,” al-Hayawi stated.
Death Toll in Nuseirat Wedding Hall
After the Israeli occupation forces announced the evacuation of homes for residents of Gaza City and the northern governorate, directing them to the southern areas of the Gaza Strip, thousands of families headed to the central, Khan Yunis, and Rafah governorates located in the south of the Gaza Strip, seeking refuge in UNRWA schools. Thousands more sought refuge with relatives and on vacant lands.
Gaza resident, Ahmed Abu Hamada, said in an interview with The Palestine Chronicle,
Dozens of children, women, and civilians took refuge in a wedding hall in the Nuseirat refugee camp in the middle of the Gaza Strip after UNRWA schools became overcrowded and unable to accommodate tens of thousands of displaced people.
“Haj Abu Iyad Al-Hiwi, the owner of the Moonlight Wedding Hall in the New Camp area in Nuseirat opened the doors of the wedding hall he owns to those seeking shelter,” Abu Hamada added.
“On Monday afternoon, Israeli aircraft bombarded the Moonlight Wedding Hall and the surrounding houses with an incendiary belt, resulting in dozens of casualties, all of whom were children, women, and civilians. The owner of the hall and his son were also killed,” he continued.
In the same context, Gaza resident, Ahmed Farajullah explained,
I was close to the Moonlight Wedding Hall in Nuseirat, and I was shocked by a violent bombardment with an incendiary belt on the hall and its surroundings. I rushed to the scene and was among the first to arrive at the site of the bombing. The atmosphere was terrifying, and the remains of children and women were scattered everywhere.
“The large number of Palestinians killed and wounded, and the extensive bombardment forced us to provide first aid and evacuate the bodies and casualties using civilian vehicles. We would place 3 or 4 bodies and injured individuals in a single car and transport them to the nearby Return Hospital. This hospital would deal with simple cases and transport the bodies and the critical and moderate cases to Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital,” Farajullah said.
I cannot forget these harsh scenes I witnessed of children and women. I did not expect Israel to continue its crimes and turn the bodies of our children and women into scattered remains, which we had to retrieve from the trees and from under the rubble. These were awful scenes that will not be forgotten.
There’s No Place for Joy in Gaza
Gaza resident, Ahmed Tamraz said,
The Israeli occupation killed all the members of my uncle Samir’s family and my uncle Musbah’s family in the shelling that targeted the Moonlight Wedding Hall and the neighboring houses in Nuseirat camp.
Tamraz explained that everyone in his uncle’s house, including children, women, and the men who lived in the house, worked in trade, and they were all civilians.
The brother of Samir and Musbah Tamraz pointed out that Israel targeted the house of his two brothers who work for UNRWA, and 13 of his brother’s family members are still under the rubble.
“These are not rockets; this is a nuclear weapon that Gaza is being bombed with. There is a disabled girl named Hadeel Tamraz who is still under the rubble. We identified the wife of our neighbor by her engagement ring. It had her name engraved on it,” Tamraz said.
“A 3-month-old baby was killed by Israeli aircraft, and women and children, everyone in the vicinity of the Moonlight Wedding Hall, are civilians. More than 20 civilians were killed in the bombing,” he added emotionally.
Tamraz appealed for “urgent international intervention to stop Israel’s crimes and halt the brutal killing that Israel has been committing against the people of Gaza for 25 days.”
Gaza resident Fatma Jaber commented on the massacre at the Moonlight Wedding Hall in Nuseirat, saying,
On the twenty-fourth day since the aggression on Gaza, death descended on the Moonlight Wedding Hall for celebrations in the Palestinian Nuseirat Camp in Gaza, and everyone inside it. Everyone inside was turned to ashes.
Basal Abu Awad, a child and resident of Gaza said,
I swear to Almighty God, they were my family, my friends, my siblings, my life, and the dearest people to my heart. I used to live among them as if I were one of them, among their children, and I would address Abu Mohammad as my father.
He continued, lamenting,
I can’t grasp what is happening and what has happened. They treated me with the utmost kindness, and they were tender-hearted, kind, and precious. They are all martyrs, may God have mercy on them all and make their abode in Paradise. My uncle Abu Wasim, my uncle Samir Tamraz, and my dear friend and loved one, Husam Tamraz, and all the members of their family.
Abdallah Aljamal is a Gaza-based journalist. He is a correspondent for The Palestine Chronicle in the Gaza Strip.