“I can’t believe I’m still alive”

Twelve-year-old Huda al-Awadi lies in hospital after she was shot during a triple child slaying in Gaza City. (Abed Al Qader Hammad/IRIN)

GAZA CITY - Twelve-year-old Huda Mohammed al-Awadi is recovering on the fourth floor of Gaza City’s Shifa hospital, after being shot by gunmen on 11 December.

Huda, who lives in Gaza City’s Omar Al-Mukhtar Street, was hit in the left leg and right foot by gunfire as she was walking to the Cairo Elementary School in the west of the city during an attack that left three children of a senior member of the Palestinian Fatah movement, Baha Balousheh, and their driver dead.

She told IRIN of her fear that she could be killed at any instant in a place where security has virtually disappeared.

“Normally I go to school from 7am to 1pm and then I have my lunch and do my homework. In the evening I watch TV and sometimes go with my friends to the Square of the Unknown Soldier in the centre. But I will never go there or anywhere else alone now, only with my father.

I was on my way to school at seven o’clock on Monday morning when I saw a group of masked men by the road shooting. All of a sudden, I saw a lot of blood coming out of my left leg and right foot and in a panic I fell down on the ground. The masked men fled away and my six-year-old sister, Nasma, who was hit in her hand, said we should go home quickly before they returned.

I told my little sister I could not walk and said she should go home. A group of people carried me to al-Shifa hospital.

Usually it is the Israelis who kill Palestinian children. This time it was Palestinians killing Palestinians and this is haram [forbidden].

I am afraid I will be killed like them and I am afraid to go alone to school after my recovery - especially after God gave me a new life by stopping these men from killing me. I am afraid that more criminals will commit more crimes against more children.

I want to say to the men who killed these children: ‘Look! They are lovely and good children and they didn’t do anything to be killed while going to school.’ When I saw their [the dead children] photos on TV, I couldn’t believe I was still alive.

We are afraid to leave our homes. Our families are incapable of protecting us, because many people are armed and no one can do anything to stop them.

I wanted to be a sports teacher but I’m afraid that my legs will not heal perfectly and that I won’t be able to be what I want to be.

I thank God that the bullets hit only my leg and foot. God may help me to get treatment at a good hospital abroad to make me walk normally like before.”

This item comes to you via IRIN, a UN humanitarian news and information service, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies. All IRIN material may be reposted or reprinted free-of-charge; refer to the copyright page for conditions of use. IRIN is a project of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

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