Middle East

Kashmiri family in Gaza seek evacuation as Israel bombards Hamas-ruled enclave

JERUSALEM — An Indian woman residing in Gaza with her family on Tuesday requested an immediate departure from the war-torn, Hamas-ruled enclave out of fear for their lives amid ongoing Israeli bombings.

“We are facing a brutal war here and everything is being destroyed in bombarded in a matter of seconds. We are paying the price of this conflict as civilians are being targeted,” Lubna Nazir Shaboo, an Indian from Kashmir living in Gaza, told PTI over the phone.

As of the fourth day of the Israel-Hamas battle, at least 1,600 people have died on both sides. On the Gaza side, 788 people were killed and 4,100 injured.

Shaboo, who is living with her husband, Nedal Toman, and youngest daughter, Karima, in Gaza, said the “water supply was officially cut off” in addition to electricity. Her two elder children live and study in Cairo, Egypt.

Internet connection in Gaza is also poor and only those with their limited net packs are able to establish contact with people outside. Israel’s defence minister Yoav Gallant on Monday ordered a “complete siege” of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. “I have given an order – Gaza will be under complete siege. There will be no electricity, food or fuel [delivered to Gaza]. We are fighting barbaric [terrorists] and will respond accordingly,” Gallant said.

The Kashmiri woman said that she hadn’t seen anything like this before and has currently two families living with them who had to run away after bombardment in the bordering areas of Gaza.

“We are not able to go anywhere because there is no safe place for us anywhere and the Gaza Strip is too small and it is closed from every side. There are no exit points over here,” Lubna said.

“I have already asked for help from the Representative office of India in Ramallah to help me get to a safer place along with my husband and my daughter,” she said in a video message sent to PTI. The only exit route from Gaza, the Rafah crossing with Egypt, was shut down on Monday practically closing all possibilities of escape for Gaza residents.

The Representative Office of India in Ramallah said they “are in touch and are trying to help all Indians but the situation on the ground constrains our options.” In addition, the Indian embassy in Tel Aviv is also actively looking for ways to assist all the Indians in the affected areas.

Earlier, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a nationally televised address: “We have only started striking Hamas. What we will do to our enemies in the coming days will reverberate with them for generations.”  — (PTI)