The five Palestinian sisters were fast asleep when a night-time Israeli airstrike hit the next-door mosque in Gaza. One of the walls collapsed on to their small asbestos-roofed home and they were all killed in their beds. The eldest sister, Tahrir, was 17 years old, the youngest, Jawaher, just four.
“They grow up day after day and night after night. Within a second, I have lost them,” the girls’ father [pictured, bottom photo], Anwar Balousha, said yesterday. The 37-year-old, along with another three of his children, was himself injured in the attack on the densely populated Jabalya refugee camp.
The funerals of the sisters – Tahrir, 17; Ikram, 15; Samar, 12; Dina eight; and Jawaher, four – were attended by family members and thousands of mourners. But with space running out in the cemetery, the five girls had to be buried in just three graves, one for the eldest and the others forced to share.