Palestinian sisters cry out for missing mother after Gaza airstrike

By Thomson Reuters Jun 3, 2024 | 9:33 AM

By Mohammed Salem

GAZA (Reuters) – After another airstrike pulverised Gaza, the two al-Breim sisters realised their mother Amira was missing and rushed to the scene, crying out her name and frantically sifting through rubble for any sign of her.

“It is like we’re in a nightmare. It is as though we are in a dream. A dream,” sobbed Samar al-Breim amid piles of collapsed concrete and twisted cables.

“I pray to God that I wake up and find out that it was only a dream and that it is not true,” she added. “What did they do to deserve this?”

Children were also sleeping at the site of the airstrike in Khan Younis in southern Gaza, she said. “The children were asleep, they are innocent, they were torn to pieces.”

Her sister Sahar said their uncles, along with their families, had perished, adding that she also should have been staying at her mother’s house overnight but had been unable to come due to a lack of transport.

“My mother is stuck underneath here,” she added, gesturing to the mounds of rubble. “There is nowhere safe in all of Gaza.”

Thousands of Palestinians are believed to be buried under rubble after relentless airstrikes in an Israeli offensive that has killed more than 36,000 people, according to Gaza health authorities, and laid waste to the densely populated enclave.

The war began when the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas attacked southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 people and dragging more than 250 people back to Gaza, according to Israeli tallies, creating a hostage crisis for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hard-right government.

“We hope to God there will be a ceasefire because we have lost a lot – we have lost all our loved ones. We have nothing left,” said Sahar, continuing to call out her mother’s name.

Mediators have failed to clinch a permanent ceasefire despite months of negotiations. Netanyahu on Monday reiterated that Israel’s top priority in Gaza remained the destruction of Hamas as well as the recovery of the hostages held by the group.

Samar al-Breim clutched at a few random items amid the mounds of rubble.

“They (the Israelis) want to annihilate us…,” Samar added. “Despite the pain, the death, the destruction they have caused, we will be victorious, God willing… and we will be stronger than before.”

(Writing by Michael Georgy; Editing by Gareth Jones)