Oct 12 – Some 447 children and 248 women are among the 1,417 killed in Israeli strikes in the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian Health Ministry said on Thursday.
The ministry has also reported 6,268 wounded since Saturday.
Mass. family stuck in Gaza pleads for help as airstrikes rain down
The U.S. is trying to get several hundred Americans out of Gaza as Israeli airstrikes rain down on the strip, reports NPR.
Among those trapped in Gaza is Abood Okal, a Palestinian American who lives in Medway and went to visit family in Gaza about two weeks ago, before Hamas launched its deadly attack into southern Israel. He was scheduled to fly back to the United States on Friday but is now stuck in Gaza with his wife and year-old son.
Okal said he’s trying to find a way to leave, but calls to U.S. embassies in Jerusalem and Cairo have not materialized into a plan to get his family out.
Okal said his sister, who’s a U.S. citizen as well, was also visiting Gaza with her children when the fighting erupted. She attempted to cross the border from Gaza into Egypt, Okal said, but Israel bombed the crossing while she was there. Okal said his sister fled with her children and is now back in Gaza City with Okal’s parents and her three children, the youngest of whom is 2 months old.
Okal is also in Gaza City, staying with his wife’s family.
“My wife wants to spend what she thinks could potentially be our last days of our lives with her family,” said Okal. “So we decided that we stick together. We either live together or die together.”
Okal’s wife, Wafaa Abuzayda, told WBUR that she’s not allowing herself to leave the room she’s in or see footage of the destruction so she can save her energy for her son.
“I have 2% of my energy, I want to keep it,” said Abuzayda. “I don’t want to see anything, because every picture I see, every video I see, I imagine me, my son, my husband, and the family in the same situation.”
Abuzayda and Okal said the most difficult part of the situation is figuring out how to talk to their son what is happening.
“We try to explain to him that these are fireworks. He loves fireworks. Back when we were in Medway in July, for the Fourth of July fireworks, it was his first fireworks so he was pretty excited about it,” said Okal. “We pretend that this is fun.”
But he said that it is harder to pretend as the bombings get closer to the house. The sounds of bombings were audible in the background as WBUR spoke to Okal.
“It becomes really hard to fool him or try to trick him because your entire house shakes. When a bombing is close by, no one cheers.”
The situation is increasingly dire as the Israeli government has cut off access to food, water and energy to the Gaza strip. Abuzayda said her family is running out of essentials.
“[The Israeli government is not allowing] anybody to help us, to give us the essential stuff, medical things. Stuff for the babies like diapers, milk, everything is running out from the markets,” said Abuzayda.
Abuzayda also spoke to NPR’s Leila Fadel. When asked what she would like to tell the U.S. government, Abuzayda’s message was simple: “Please, please save us.”