PRCS’ Emergency Medial Technician (EMT) A’aed Al Bura’i (27) received a call at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday the 26th of July, indicating several civilian casualties in Al Masreen Street to the East of Beit Hanoun. When the call came in through their ambulance radio, A’aed and two of his colleagues were parked close to Al Masreen Street in line with the Emergency Plan implemented by PRCS’ Emergency Center in Northern Gaza, aimed at deploying ambulances in various areas to ensure their speedy access to targeted zones.
A’aed told the ambulance driver to head to the targeted street. A’aed, who started working as a volunteer with PRCS’ Emergency Medical Services three years ago, insisted on being there for PRCS’ and for all Palestinians during this Israeli offensive. He refused to sit idly at home with his wife and two babies, the eldest of whom is less than two years old, joining PRCS’ teams and volunteers in the field.
In less two minutes, the ambulance was 50 meters away from Al Masreen Street, where several Israeli shells left tens of Palestinian casualties. A’aed took the ambulance’s two-way radio in his hand to inform the EMS center that they were now very close to the scene when the ambulance came under intense and direct fire from the Israeli occupation army.
The ambulance turned right to avoid the shots, but Israeli tanks were adamant on preventing it from reaching the scene. A tank shell was fired at the ambulance, hitting it in the back. The force of the explosion was such that the three men flew off the ground, with bleeding wounds and shrapnel injuries. The worst wounds were those sustained by A’aed. The explosion took one of his legs while shrapnel wounded him in the head, the neck and the hand.
His two colleagues were appalled by the scene before them: A’aed lay in a pool of blood with parts of his body scattered around him.
The Israeli artillery resumed firing shells at the ambulance. The ambulance, which clearly bears the internationally-protected Red Crescent emblem, had its siren wailing and its warning lights still on. But all these precautions were to no avail, as A’aed lay on the ground, bleeding, wishing that international law, which calls for the protection and respect of emergency service providers in time of war, could save him.
Two shells hit the ambulance directly, setting it and A’aed’s body ablaze, in a gory scene. Only then, when the soldiers knew for certain that they had put an end to this ambulance’s mission, did the shelling stop.
The sons and daughters of PRCS carried the body of A’aed and laid him to rest in the city’s cemetery.They inhumed his pure body, burying it alongside the respect of International Humanitarian Law.