Ahmed Abu Arida, 41, was standing on the roof of his apartment building at 11:30 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, watching Israeli jets pound the city around him.
“The explosions were very loud,” Mr. Arida said, “but they seemed far away.”
Then he heard screaming from the rooms below.
“Ahmed, Ahmed, Ahmed, I am here,” he said, remembering the words of Iman Arida, 32, the mother of his seven children. “Those are the last words she ever spoke,” he said.
A piece of shrapnel from an Israeli rocket pierced Mrs. Arida’s brain as she lay sleeping with her 3-year-old son.
“She died in the last half-hour of the year,” Mr. Arida said.