The three-day-old baby, Mohammed, and his mother Asam 23, were sleeping in their room when an Israeli missile hit their house early Monday morning in the heart of Jabalia refugee camp, north of Gaza.
"I do not believe it, the rocket that fell from the sky near my sons and daughter, it is a miracle it did not blow up," said Husseini Abu Salem 46, the grandfather of Mohammed.
Shadi Abu Salem, the father of the baby, said he has just entered his room when the rocket hit the house.
"I looked at my new born baby and began change my clothes, I heard something heavy break through the asbestos ceiling and hit the floor," Shadi said, in a state of shock. "I carried my son and told my wife, [Maisa 23], to follow us out of the house, and shouted for my parents and siblings to leave the house."
At least eight family members were at their small house in the crowded refugee camp. Nida, 14, the niece of Shadi Abu Salem, had been sleeping on the very mattress where the missile fell, but by a lucky chance, had gone to the kitchen for some water.
"I woke up to go drink some water, a few seconds later, I heard the missile fall – right on the mattress where I had been sleeping," she said.
Nida added that she could not move as she was frozen from horror. "I could not escape from the house with the others, or even scream, luckily, my father grabbed me and took me with him."
Her parents had been sleeping, while their three sons, Nida’s brothers, were talking around the light of a kerosene lamp (all of Gaza has been without electricity for the last three weeks due to Israeli bombing of its power plants).
Her father, Husseini, 46, said he woke with a start when he heard something heavy fall into the house — he saw dust begin filling the house, and said his son Shadi shouted and called everyone to leave the house.
"I called my wife to leave and carried my daughter Nida with me out of the house," he said.
Husseini’s 17-year-old son, Mohammed, could not describe his feeling when he realised that a missile "visited them in the house."
"Can you describe the feeling when a missile falls from the sky to sit beside you, tell me, can you describe such feeling? It is . . ." said Mohammed, unable to continue.
Abu Salem’s neighbours and relatives also left their houses in a state of panic and horror. Many residents of Jabalia had been spending their nights on their roofs, keeping their eyes open for the warnings of an imminent attack: the sounds of approaching helicopters, or the unmanned ‘drones’ used by Israel for dropping bombs.
George Abu Salem, the uncle of Husseini, who lives in the neighborhood, near his brother’s house, said he was on the roof and saw the rocket hit the house.
"I was sitting on the roof staring at the darkness and stars, I heard the helicopter, then I saw a piece of fire falling down. It hit my nephew’s house — all of the neighbors carried their children and fled their houses," said George.
In the darkness of the Jabalia street, dozens of pajama-clad families huddled together for the rest of the night, afraid that the unexploded missile would detonate, or another would be fired on their homes.
Who knows the nature of the miracle that saved the lives of dozens of poor people living in one of the most crowded refugee camps on earth. They were lucky, but many more have not been so lucky, as at least ten families have been blown to bits in direct hits on their homes in the last three weeks of Israeli attacks on Gaza.
Abdul Hamid Dawas 44, was sitting on a mattress in a street near Abu Salem’s house, said that hundreds of people could have been slaughtered if that missile had detonated.
"We have no electricity and it is very hot, we escape the heat by sitting on the street or on our roofs, we have no other choice but to wait for our destiny," Dawas said.