Between three and five civilians, including two to three children and a pregnant woman, were killed and four others were injured in alleged Israeli strikes on Tal Al Hawa neighborhood in Gaza on May 12th 2021. Two members of the Al Qassam Brigade were also allegedly killed in the same strike.
Al Jazeera reported that “A woman, who is four months pregnant, and her five-year-old son, were reported killed following the latest Israeli air strike on their house in Tel al-Hawa”and later identified the name of the pregnant woman as Reema Telbani. Israel-Palestine Timeline added that a girl was also killed, “Mariam Mohammad Odah at-Tilbani, 3, and her brother Zeid, 5, were killed by a missile that struck their home in Tal al-Hawa neighborhood, in Gaza City”. @WAFANewsEnglish also identified the husband of Reema Telbani as being killed and @ahmadfarha44 tweeted his name as Muhammad Odeh al-Tilbani.
At the time of reporting, Al Jazeera detailed that Reema and Zeid had died immediately, while “Mohammed later died in the intensive care unit, but the body of their daughter, three-year-old Maryam, has yet to be recovered from the site of the attack”. A post 10 days later by Wisam Al Tal on Facebook reported that the body of Maryam was finally recovered from the rubble and a funeral was held for her.
Quds News Network gave an overall report that the strikes on Tal Al Hawa killed ” three civilians and wounding four others in initial reports”. Al Watan Voice added that of the four injured, two of the cases were in critical condition.
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights identified two missiles as striking the “4-storey residential building next to al-Yaziji Bakery in Tal al-Hawa” at 1:35AM and resulting in five people being killed, including “Rima Sa’ed Kamel Sa’ed “al-Telbani” (31), her 5-year-old child Zaid Mohammed ‘Odah al-Telbani, Wael ‘Abdel Karim ‘Ali ‘Issa (41); Hasan Mohammed ‘Ali al-Qahwaji (43) and Hala Hussein Ra’fat al-Rifi (13), who was killed in the building adjacent to the targeted building. Al Mezan also identified Hussein Raafat Al-Rifi, father of Hala, as being injured in the strikes.
Al Qassam Brigades reported in two separate posts of the death of two of their members, Hassan Mohammed Hassan Al-Qahwaji and Wael Abdel Karim Ali Issa. @abd_rahman197 tweeted that “Al-Qassam Brigades announces the news of the martyrdom of two of its great leaders… the martyrdom of the Qassam leader Judge Hassan Al-Qahwaji Abu Ali and the martyrdom of the leader Wael Issa, Abu Hamad. Abdallah Tariq, the cousin of Al-Qahwaji, also referred to him as a judge for Al Qassam and included a picture.
The Guardian reported that “on Tuesday Israeli jets hit one of the towers, an eight-story apartment block, where Hassan Abu al-Ata, deputy commander of Islamic Jihad’s Gaza Brigade, who is blamed for rocket attacks against Israel, was sheltering.” There is no evidence he was killed in this strike.
Mohammad Saad, cousin of Reema, told Al Jazeera that the news hit the family “like a lightning bolt” and that “I’m communicating with the fire department and civil defence crews in Gaza to help us find Maryam and have her rest and be buried near her mother, who would have wanted that”. Middle East Eye reported that Reema’s mother Samia Saad had been trying to reach Reema after she heard that an apartment building in from of the al-Yazji bakery was struck but when she didn’t pick up, she rushed to the neighborhood. “They told us that her husband was in the intensive care unit. When I asked about my daughter and her children, they said that we might need to check the morgue. They did not allow me to see her because they said I would break down. So my son saw her and confirmed her identity. He told me that I could not handle seeing her like this. Her skull was broken open and her brain exposed.”
The day prior to the attack “had been a joyous one, with Reem visiting her family to congratulate her brother on his engagement. “The next day, she went home and was targeted,” cousin Mohammad Saad said. Reema’s mother Samia “urged her daughter to spend the night in her house – but she told MEE that Reema had decided to stay home, convinced that her residential neighbourhood would not be targeted.” According to Samia, “She said she wanted to stay with her husband and that her home was located in an overcrowded and safe neighbourhood. Before the attack, we video-chatted and the children showed me how they had moved their mattresses to sleep in their parents’ bedroom because they were scared. They wished me a good night and went to sleep.”
Middle East Eye reported that “Reema Saad had been hoping for a baby girl” and “the 30-year-old Palestinian journalist was four months along in her third pregnancy, and was due to find out the sex of her baby a few days after Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.” Her sister Samar Saad told Middle East Eye “When she found out she was pregnant, Reema was very happy. Her son Zaid hoped the baby would be a boy so that he would call him Zain, but Mariam wanted a little sister, and cried every time we teased her telling her it was a baby boy.”
Samar had not been able to attend her sister’s funeral because of the ongoing shelling. “My mum asked me not to come because of the intensive shelling. She told me that she did not want to lose another daughter,” she said.
The third Saad sister, Sally, found out about Reema’s death in Belgium, where she is living. “I was sleeping when Reema’s home was bombed. I woke up to my husband talking [on the phone],” Sally told MEE that she feels devastated being so far away and unable to be with her family. “We used to video-chat every day; me, mum, Samar, Reema and her children. Now, I can only talk to mum and my siblings when they are able to, due to the intensive shelling. Reema was constantly asking us about the clothes she should buy for her children for Eid – but she was also very ambitious, always discussing her plans to start a project assisting people in finding freelance jobs,” Sally says.
Reema’s mother Samia was familiar with loss: she was “reminded of her brother, who was killed by Israeli forces during the First Intifada, and her husband, who died in 2009 due to lack of drugs and medical equipment in Gaza under the ongoing Israeli-led blockade”.
Various sources reported on the location as being next to al-Yaziji Bakery while @alwatanvoice identified the location as “near the Abu Zour farm”. Al Mezan described the apartment that was bombed as being on the “third floor of the Salha residential building, which is a four-storey building, with a total area 250 square meters, and it consists of (5) apartments and commercial crops, located in the Tel Al-Hawa neighborhood, west of Gaza City”.
The bombing was described as being carried out by airstrikes and Sama News described that “the targeting force caused the body of the martyrs to fly out from inside the apartment.”
All of the sources that attributed responsibility to a belligerent blamed Israel for carrying out the strikes. A video posted by the IDF on twitter labeled as a strike on “senior members of the Hamas terrorist organization’s intelligence system” has been identified as occurring at this strike location.
The incident occured at 1:35 am local time.
The victims were named as:
Family members (4)
- Mariam Mohammad Odah at-Tilbani 3 years old female killed
- Zeid Mohammad Odah at-Tilbani 5 years old male killed
- Reema Saad 31 years old female pregnant killed
- Mohammed Odah at-Tilbani 29 years old male killed
Family members (2)
Sources (56) [ collapse]
Geolocation notes (4) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention an apartment being struck in the Tel Al Hawa (تل الهوا) neighbourhood of Gaza (غَزَّة). Analyzing visual material from sources, we have narrowed down the location to these exact coordinates: 31.508687, 34.432846.
Israeli Armed Forces Assessment:
Original strike reports
View documentation of attacks by senior members of the Hamas terrorist organization's intelligence system >>>