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UK Doctor Relieved to Be Home After Gaza Plight

A doctor who was separated from his family and stuck in war-torn Gaza when his wife and children were allowed into Egypt says he is relieved to be back in the UK.

Dr Ahmed Sabra, from Swansea, was visiting other relatives when the conflict began.

He said he is thankful to be alive, but his thoughts are with those he had to leave behind, including his parents and siblings.

He called it a “terrifying experience”.

He said: “At the beginning we were not sleeping, but by week two we had got used to the continual bombing and the sound of war planes.

“Every time there was bombing, we just hugged each other, my children once said to me ‘why don’t they just bomb and kill us, we can’t handle this any more’.

“It felt like we were just waiting for death to come.”

Dr Sabra said the five-storey home his family were renting in Gaza was bombed and destroyed.

“It was around 1am, and we heard lots of noise and people saying to evacuate, the children were sleeping, me and my wife were awake as we couldn’t sleep.

“Within 15 seconds we were outside the building in only our night clothes, [with] our passport and some money.

“Within 20 minutes we had lost everything, everything was gone.

He is a consultant cardiologist at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield, West Yorkshire who was a cardiology registrar at Morriston Hospital, Swansea.

He said it was difficult to survive because of the lack of food and water, and shelter was scarce.

“There was no electricity or water, I had two or three showers in six weeks, and we used fire to cook because there was no gas or electricity.”

His plight follows Israel’s major military campaign in the Gaza, with the aim of eliminating Hamas.

It is in retaliation for the 7 October cross-border attack by Hamas gunmen which killed 1,200 people, and took an estimated 240 people hostage.

The Hamas-run health ministry said the death roll in Gaza has reached 12,300 people following Israel’s counter-attack, with more than 2,000 people feared to be buried under the rubble.

To escape the fighting Dr Sabra’s family travelled to the Rafah crossing, and his wife and children crossed into Egypt.

But he was turned away because his name was left off a list of British nationals.

Four days later his name was added, and he was able to get out.

“I am very relieved to be back and reunited with my family after the most difficult six weeks of my life.

“Unfortunately my relief and happiness is not complete, because my heart is still bleeding for what I have witnessed and left behind,” he said.

Dr Sabra said he lost one of his cousins after her house was bombed.

“She died with her husband, daughters, her daughter-in-laws, and her grandchildren.

“Her sons were struggling to get them out, because there are no rescue teams of machinery, people are doing this with their bare hands.”

he did not hear about his cousin and family until two days later because of signal issues in Gaza.

He fears a public health crisis because so many of the dead are under the rubble.

“You can smell the rotting bodies – it is a really tragic situation.”

He is calling for an end to the violence, and peace for both sides.

Source : BBC