Gaza fighting kills 10 members of Winnipeg man's family
A Winnipeg man says 10 members of his extended family have been killed in Gaza.
Louay Alghoul received word three family homes were demolished by Israeli shelling on Saturday and of the 10 people killed, six were children.
"I got the news from my sister,” said Alghoul, a lawyer and CEO of Alghoul & Associates Law Firm & Immigration Services in Winnipeg. “She texts me saying that Hermin and her cousin Mohammed and the other cousins, they've been bombed."
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Two families managed to escape. Of the 10 of the people that didn't make it out alive, six were children – some as young as 10-months-old, Alghoul said.
Alghoul said access to Gaza has been limited.
“It's very difficult for anyone to go. I just feel, basically, like I'm losing my family,” he said.
Alghoul said he feels helpless.
"So it's a very tough feeling when you feel like you're helpless,” he said. “You can say ‘I'm praying for you, I feel for you’ only so many times, and then I feel ashamed to call them again, because what am I going to say?"
Fighting in the region has been going on for nearly a month now between Israel and Hamas.
Heavy fighting raged in parts of Gaza on the weekend. Israeli shelling left dozens dead and more than 400 wounded.
Alghoul said members of family who have survived are trying to remain strong.
"These are not people who are wishing for death,” said Alghoul. “They go to schools, they look for jobs, they play in the streets, they call you uncle, they wish for a future.”
1,900 Palestinians dead
The war broke out on July 8 when Israel launched an air offensive in response to weeks of heavy rocket fire out of Hamas-controlled Gaza. It expanded the operation on July 17 by sending in ground forces in what it described as a mission to destroy a network of tunnels used to stage attacks.
Israel says the last of the tunnels has nearly been destroyed.
The war has taken nearly 1,900 Palestinian lives, most of them civilians caught in fighting inside Gaza's crowded urban landscape, according to Hamas medical officials.
Sixty-four Israeli soldiers have also died, as well as two Israeli civilians and a Thai labourer who worked in Israel. The heavy death toll has eclipsed that of previous rounds of fighting in 2009 and 2012.
Many of Alghoul's family lives in Gaza and they're struggling to get by, he said.
“The most concern right now is clean water and food. And they're having problems with keeping the dead bodies so they're putting them in vegetable fridges and deep freezers and things like that,” he said.
Members of Alghoul's family, who live in Winnipeg, gathered Monday night at a wake to remember those lost in the conflict.