Baby Ahmad Was Beheaded by Israel with a US Bomb


Seraj Assi | Common Dreams - TRANSCEND Media Service

Site of an Israeli strike on a camp for internally displaced Palestinians in Rafah on 27 May 2024, which killed at least 48 and wounded hundreds more.  (Photo: Eyad Baba/AFP via Getty Images)

On Sunday night, May 26 2024, 1-year-old Ahmad became the symbol of the unspeakable horror of genocide in Gaza after Israel bombed his family tent in north Rafah.

6 Jun 2024 – Ahmad Al-Najjar was a happy one-year old child from Gaza. He loved trampolines, balls, and cats. Born as the youngest of his four siblings, his father liked to call him “bobba” or “baby.”

On Sunday night, May 26, Ahmad became the symbol of the unspeakable horror of genocide in Gaza after Israel bombed his family tent in north Rafah, killing him along with his mother, Faten, his sister, Houda, and his brother, Arkan. Though he was bombed beyond recognition, Ahmad was the most recognizable victim of the tents massacre in Rafah, which burned alive, beheaded, and killed at least 45 Palestinians, most of them women and children, and wounded hundreds others.

Rafah’s tents massacre was one of the most heinous assaults on Palestinian civilians in recent memory. International media and Palestinian sources reported that Israel blitzed the camp where displaced Palestinians were sheltering in tents with seven massive U.S. bombs weighing 2,000 pounds each. Meanwhile, weapons experts toldCNN and The New York Times that they identified the remains of Boeing-made GBU-39s in the rubble.

The bombarded refugee tents had been designated by Israel as a “safe area” for civilians. Rafah was described by UNICEF officials as “a city of children, who have nowhere safe to go in Gaza.” It was believed to be Gaza’s last refuge, and the limit of the Biden administration’s “red line” in Gaza. This grim reality, however, did not prevent the Biden administration from shipping thousands of bombs and weapons to Israel, despite Israel’s repeated threats to invade Rafah. As Israeli forces were pounding Rafah’s refugee camps, U.S. presidential candidate Nikki Haley was in Israel signing “finish them” on the very U.S. bombs that were used to slaughter children in Gaza.

It is the children of Gaza who are forced to live the most unspeakable horrors while being denied the same outrage that Israel’s invented horrors have generated among U.S. and Western politicians

Widely circulated footage from the massacre showed a night of unspeakable horror: bodies burned to ashes, charred and blackened beyond recognition; beheaded children, decapitated and ripped apart by U.S. bombs; parents clutching their dead and burned children, screaming in horror; rescuers pulling people’s charred remains from the burning tents; wounded victims transferred to the hospital with horrific and gruesome injuries.

But the most horrifying footage from that night showed a man holding up what appeared to be the body of a small child who had been beheaded. It belonged to Baby Ahmad, who was wearing black pants and an orange shirt that night. His left leg was also severed in the blast. The family never found Ahmad’s head, and they buried him without it. He was put in the same body bag with his sister Houda. His mother and brother Arkan were buried in separate body bags.

His surviving brothers, Muhammad and Yamin, both saw the ravaged body of their little brother that night. In an interview with Al Jazeera, Ahmad’s father, Abdel Hafez, and two brothers, the only survivors of the family, speak up about the unspeakable horror they had to endure that night.

“I did not believed he was beheaded in the bombing until I saw it with my own eyes at the Tal As-Sultan clinic,” says Abdel Hafez. “His head was separated from his body.”

“It was horrific, very horrific, seeing a beheaded baby, my baby. He was buried without a head,” says the father. “I have been in a state of utter collapse, until this moment.”

The brothers look visibly traumatized. They can hardly invoke the sight of their little brother without trembling and bursting into tears. The family was staying at one of UNRWA’s shelters when Israeli forces pounded the camp. They had been displaced several times before they finally reached Rafah, where they settled in the Tal As-Sultan neighborhood after being forced to flee Khan Younis.

Battling his tears, brother Mohammad, aged 13, relates: “We were playing ball, before sunset. I came back to the shelters. They (Israelis) bombed the shelters, and I heard screams. Then I saw my brother Ahmad at the shelter’s door. His head was severed. His left leg was severed. He was wearing black pants and an orange shirt. I could not bear it, seeing my brother beheaded.”

Speaking through tears, Ahmad’s other brother, Yamin, aged eight, relates his first sight of Ahmad following the Israeli airstrike: “His face was soaked in blood, and his head severed. I wept. I love them so much.”

Standing by the graves of his family, and sharing photos of his slain children in their better and happier days, Ahmad’s father shares his fondest and last memory of his son: his nicknames, “bobba” and “baby,” and his baby word for “give me potato,” which is “baba tata,” and the way he pronounced shekel, the Israeli currency. “The last thing he asked for was a shekel, using his baby word for it: ‘tetel.’ I gave him the shekel, and he hugged me, and then left to buy something with it.”

“He loved playing with cats,” Muhammad recalls, bursting into bitter tears. “When I see his things, the trampoline and ball, and the things he played with, I feel sad and I miss him. I miss them all. I pray for them. I pray that God will have mercy on them, and grant them Heaven.”

Ahmad was one of 15,000 Gazan children murdered by Israel since October 7, a toll that would have been unimaginable without the bottomless supply of U.S. bombs. A new report by Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor shows that Israel dropped over 70,000 tons of U.S. bombs on Gaza in 200 days, which surpasses that of WWII and the bombings in Dresden, Hamburg, and London combined. It’s also 20 times more than the U.S. dropped on Iraq in six years of war.

Israel launched its genocidal war on Gaza by inventing its most outrageous lie, that Hamas fighters beheaded 40 Israeli babies on October 7. Despite being widely debunked, the lie has been repeatedly invoked by Israeli leaders to justify their genocide in Gaza. It has also served as a way to justify U.S. complicity in Israel’s war crimes in Gaza, with top U.S. officials, including Joe Biden, along with the mainstream media, echoing it recklessly.

Meanwhile, it is the children of Gaza who are forced to live the most unspeakable horrors while being denied the same outrage that Israel’s invented horrors have generated among U.S. and Western politicians. To cite Ahmad’s father: “They accuse us of beheading babies. But whose head was decapitated? My son, my one-and-a-half year old baby! They severed it completely.”


Update: This piece has been edited to provide more sourcing and accounts as to the types of U.S.-made bombs that Israel dropped on Rafah on 26 May 2024.


Seraj Assi is a Palestinian writer living in Washington D.C. – Full Bio >


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