Well over 40 members of the Khouli family were asleep. Of course they were, it was getting on towards 3am.

As is the way with family groups here, several branches live in one sprawling, three-storey block. There’s a small engineering workshop to the right of the house. To the left the neighbour’s equally large place and a small row of shops across the wide street.

At just on 3am this morning the phone rang.

Abu Ahmad Khouli awoke and blundered towards the phone, not wishing to wake too many of the family:

“This is the Israeli Defence Force – you have five minutes to leave your house.”

“Why?” He answered, “why do you want to attack our house? What for?”

The voice came back:

“Do not start asking why. Get out of the house. You have five minutes, starting now.”

And the line went dead.

Incredibly, Abu Ahmad then dialled 101 for emergency services and asked if this is credible? Do the Israelis do this? If they want to kill someone in a house they just open fire surely?

“It could be a hoaxer,” came the reply, “but you’d better call the fire brigade and get them over.

By now most of the family was awake and dressing hurriedly. It was it this point that the phone rang again, just after 3am.

“Why aren’t you out?”

It was the man from Israel again:

“Look – you people get out now. Right now. Tell your neighbours and get clear of the house. We attack in five minutes. Don’t take anything, just get away right now.”

Click.

Somehow they and neighbours got away. They think a final small rocket was fired from a drone.

Then, from a distance they saw the entire building reduced to rubble in seconds with a fireball exploding into the night.

Around three hours later the jet returned, another airstrike just to make more than absolutely certain.

The blasts were so powerful the shockwave ensured the engineering workshop one side is wrecked, so too the small shopping bazaar across the road.

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