Gaza father mourns baby son decapitated in Rafah massacre

New details have emerged regarding decapitated Palestinian baby Ahmad Al-Najar, who was killed by the Israeli military’s massacre in Rafah on May 26.

Images of baby Ahmad’s headless body being held up went viral on social media following the horrific events of the Tel al-Sultan massacre, which killed at least 45 Palestinians.

The 18-month-old child, who was killed alongside his mother Faten, sister Huda and brother Arkan, is being mourned by the remaining members of his family.

“I did not know his head was cut off during the bombing. I didn’t believe it until I saw it with my own eyes in the Sultan clinic,” his father Abdul Hafez told Al Jazeera on Monday.

“I saw the bodies of my wife Faten, and daughter Huda, my son Arkan and my baby Ahmad. I was told he was headless; I just peeked inside the body bag and saw his body without a head, and I couldn’t stand to see it anymore.”

“Talking about this situation is very difficult. A baby without a head! It’s very hard, especially that it’s my son,” he added, as he looked at pictures of Ahmad on his phone.

“Israel accuses us of cutting off people’s heads. But who cuts off heads? Israel beheaded my 18-month-old son”.

The Tel al-Sultan massacre happened when the Israeli military fired missiles at a camp for displaced people in Rafah. Tents were set ablaze and at least 45 people were killed. Many of them were burned alive by the fires which started.

Gaza’s government media office said Israeli aircraft dropped bombs as heavy as 2,000 pounds, in the strike which killed mostly women and children.

 Horrifying images emerged of charred, dismembered and decapitated bodies were seen on social media and news sites, triggering an outcry over Israel’s atrocities in its ongoing assault on Rafah, where most of the Gaza Strip’s population have been displaced

Ahmad was with his brothers, who were playing football in a park on the day he was killed. The park was targeted in the strike, and his brother Mohammed said he heard screaming, including from Ahmed.

Mohammed told Al Jazeera that “every time he sees his brother’s clothing, he is overwhelmed with grief”. Abdul Hafez and his remaining surviving children have kept his toys and clothes, in a bid to remember him.

“I hope to be killed so I can join him in heaven. I miss my sister and brothers, I miss them all,” he said.

Like any other child, Ahmad loved to play on the trampoline, football and with cats, his brothers said. His father affectionately called ‘boba’ and ‘baby’.

Ahmad’s head has not been found since his violent death, and Abdul Hafez was forced to bury his son without it, Al Jazeera said. He was buried next to his mother and siblings amid Gaza’s ruins. 

The Al-Najar family are from Khan Younis, which they were forced to flee before finding shelter in Tel al-Sultan, before Israel’s massacre.

Israel continues to carry out bombings in Rafah, in violation of an International Court of Justice ordering a halt to such an attack.

Children and women have made up the majority of victims of Israel’s indiscriminate military campaign, in which at least 36,586 Palestinians have been killed and over 83,000 wounded.

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