As Israel’s bombardment of Gaza continued Thursday, Nanaimo’s Sara Kishawi told CHEK News she is worried sick for her family there.
“Almost my entire family is in Gaza right now. On both sides, my Mom’s side and on my Dad’s side. My uncles, all my cousins are there, my grandparents are there,” said Kishawi, a Vancouver Island University student who moved to Canada in 2011.
“I’m worried for my family, they’re in this small space that’s blocked in all directions. They have no way out,” said Kishawi.
On Thursday, members of VIU’s Muslim community rallied in support of Palestinians who are trapped in Israel’s ongoing response to the deadly surprise attack by Hamas on Saturday.
“We do not support hate. We do not support terrorism. All we can do is try to tell our story,” said VIU student Nader Hatabah, who also has family in Gaza.
“They’re blocked in there and they cannot leave and they’re still getting bombed. So what are we supposed to do?” he said.
‘I’ll be OK if I die with them’
Courtenay resident and retired teacher Alan Turner is currently living in an apartment in West Jerusalem, less than two hours from where the fighting is taking place.
“What we hear are booms of rockets falling and mostly because of the Iron Dome, as you well know, is such a successful creation. Mostly the booms is the Iron Dome picking these rockets out,” said Turner, who is planning to move to Jerusalem.
Thursday, thousands of Israeli troops were positioned along the border with Gaza preparing for a ground offensive as Hamas militants continued to fire thousands of rockets into Israel.
Israel reports more than 1,300 people have been killed there since Saturday, and that Hamas is holding up to 150 people hostage. Palestinian officials report about 1,400 people are dead in Gaza.
Turner is currently a pastor at a church in Jerusalem and is in contact with family here on Vancouver Island. However, the Islander told CHEK News he doesn’t want to leave Israel, especially as people go through a terrifying time there.
“I came here to live with these people that I loved for so many years. And if I do love to live with them, then I’ll be OK if I die with them,” said Turner.