Sami Alagha, along with his family, had traveled to Gaza for an extended holiday. However, the situation took a dire turn when Israel initiated retaliatory strikes against Hamas, leaving the family stranded in a city that has become almost entirely isolated from the outside world. Expressing his fear and anxiety, Sami stated, “My life is in danger and I want to go back to Dublin.”
The recent Israeli offensive has been in response to a Hamas attack on 7 October, which resulted in the tragic death of over 1,400 individuals, including children. Sami recounts the terrifying experiences of “hearing a lot of rockets and bombs coming from everywhere,” which has left him sleep-deprived and scared.
As of Sunday night, the death toll in Gaza has risen to 4,651, with an additional 14,245 reported injuries, as per the health ministry’s records. Israel’s primary objective, as stated repeatedly, is to neutralize Hamas. In a recent meeting with US President Joe Biden, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu emphasized Israel’s commitment to minimizing civilian casualties. The Israeli Defence Forces have also advised residents of Gaza City to relocate south in anticipation of a potential ground offensive. However, experts argue that international humanitarian law should still protect those who choose to stay.
Sami’s heartrending account sheds light on the dire conditions in Gaza, where residents are grappling with limited access to electricity and water. He reminisces about the safety and comfort of his home in Dublin, missing his friends, toys, and even his father’s car. He poignantly adds, “Everyone needs to help the children in Gaza.”
The United Nations has called for sustained aid deliveries to Gaza. While some aid convoys, including 14 trucks of supplies, have reached the region over the weekend, the UN’s emergency relief coordinator, Martin Griffiths, stresses that the current aid is insufficient and that “they need more, much more.”