Gaza residents spoke to CNN Saturday following Israel’s military announcement it is preparing for the “next stages of the war” against Hamas.
Hind al-Khoudari, 28, a Philippine national from Gaza, told CNN she was stranded at the Rafah crossing to Egypt with her family all day and had to pull back to central Gaza because the crossing is closed.
Khoudari said she arrived at the crossing Saturday morning with her husband and his family in order to leave the Gaza Strip. They encountered more than 20 families with passports from various countries.
After waiting for hours, they were told they will not be able to leave Gaza today, because the Egyptian authorities want the crossing to serve “a humanitarian cause and not only evacuation for foreigners.” Egyptians told her in-laws to stay close to the area of Rafah crossing and be ready for a phone call to leave at any minute.
Abdul Rahman Abu Ghali, a displaced man from north of Gaza City, came to the city of Deir al Balah in central Gaza following recent developments in the region. He shared his views with CNN on the recent Israeli military actions.
“They are monsters. They do not know anything about human rights. They deal with us like animals. They don’t take us as humans. They killed a child. They kill women. They attack houses without any alarm (warning),” he said.
Abu Ghali said children in his area “can’t find food to eat and water to drink.”
“These are very bad days. I think they will be getting worse and worse and worse. These people have no mercy,” he added.
Remember: The Israeli offensive was launched in response to devastating terror attacks by Hamas last week. Hamas runs Gaza, which has spiraled into a humanitarian crisis due to Israel’s airstrikes and siege, which has cut off access to basic resources.
Hamas has carried out attacks on Israel for years, and Israel has controlled a blockade on Gaza since the militant group took control of the territory in 2007.
Motaz al-Azayza, 24, a media activist and medic volunteer, told CNN he went back home to Gaza to see his family and then started volunteering with Bahrain Red Crescent Society.
While he was working as a medic volunteer and a cameraman, his organization received a call about a bombing in the city of Deir al-Balah. The bombing, according to him, ended up “in a new massacre.”
“There were 20 murdered and more than maybe 30 injured,” he said.
Azaya recounted sitting in the front seat of an ambulance when a child’s body was brought to him and put on his lap.
“Every minute there’s a new massacre,” he said.
“I hope someone like an official person from anywhere in the world will start to take action to stop this madness. What is happening to Gazans is it’s a disaster. It’s a real disaster. It’s like the last day of the Earth.”