Posted by: Lister | May 19, 2007

Daoud and Maha Katouni

Gideon Levy talks about another Palestinian woman shot in her home — Maha Katouni, in Ein Beit Ilma refugee camp on the outskirts of Nablus in the West Bank.

It is obvious that Maha Katouni is still in a state of trauma. Wounded in the abdomen, she lies in bed, her elderly mother by her side. The tube in her nose makes it hard for her to speak. She is 30 years old and was in the seventh month of pregnancy, a mother who got up in the middle of the night to protect her three small children, sleeping in the other room, from the bullets that were whistling by outside. As soon as she got out of bed, the bullet struck her. Bleeding, she fell on the nightstand by her bed. Maha survived, but Daoud – as she and her husband planned to name their son – was removed from her womb with a bullet wound to the head.

[…] Last Wednesday was an ordinary day in the Katouni household. The father went to work, the kids went to school, and in the evening everyone went to bed – the parents in their bedroom and the three children in their room in the third-floor apartment. Shortly after two in the morning, Maha was startled awake by the loud sounds of gunfire from the street. She didn’t even manage to turn on the light when she got up to run to the kids’ room next door, to reassure her three little boys and keep them from getting scared. The gunfire was very heavy. The window of her room was open and her bed was close to the window.

Maha got out of bed, took one step, and then the bullet struck her in the lower back. She fell onto the nightstand. Another bullet struck the nightstand. Soldiers from the Nahal patrol battalion were standing on the roofs of the surrounding buildings.

[…] Rifat [her husband] rushed to call an ambulance. The children, who had awakened, were hysterical, especially the youngest, 3-year-old Jad, at the sight of the blood trickling from the front and back of their pregnant mother, who lay wounded on the floor. The bullet had struck her from behind, passed through the fetus’ head and the mother’s intestines and exited through the abdomen.

[…] The pain is written all over Maha’s face. One of her brothers somehow managed to cross the line of fire and get to her house; he tried to stanch the gaping wound in her stomach with a towel.

[…] The gunfire finally subsided at around three in the morning and they were able to take Maha out to the street, carried by her brother and the paramedic from the ambulance that had parked in the nearby alley. The brother says that on the way to the hospital they were stopped twice by soldiers, who wanted to check the wounded woman’s identity and to make sure there were no wanted men hiding in the ambulance. Maha was barely conscious when she reached the hospital, but her mother says she understood right away that she had lost the baby.

[…] They were going to call him Daoud, after an uncle, and also after a resident of the camp who was killed. At home they had everything ready: new clothes, diapers and a crib passed down from his older brothers. Daoud was buried in the camp cemetery. Only a few close family members attended the funeral of the unborn baby.

At press time, no response had been received from the IDF Spokesperson’s Office.

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