At 4:40 P.M. on Sunday, May 5, the ringing of a cell phone woke Khamis Ziada from his nap. It was an unidentified number. A voice on the other end said, “Am I speaking with Khamis Ziada? You’re talking to the Israeli Shin Bet. There’s a school opposite your house. Are there people in it at this time of the day?” Ziada replied that there was no one in the school in the late afternoon on that particular day, the first day of the Ramadan fast, and in any case school had been canceled because of the Israeli bombing raids.
The security service agent continued, “Are you sure there are no women and children in the school? Are you positive there’s no one?” And then, “I’m giving you five minutes to tell your family and everyone in the residence you live in to go outside. We have to blow up the building in another five minutes.”
Dumbstruck, Ziada tried to protest. He explained to the mysterious caller that it was impossible to evacuate a seven-story building – where 15 families, including some with children and elderly people, lived – within five minutes. The Shin Bet man replied: “That’s of no interest to me. I already told you: You have five minutes.”