“We saw death in every step and I can’t believe I’m still alive” (July Story Journal: Gaza)

Guest writer: Itaf from Gaza.*

I’ve lived through two days that I could never have imagined. When the bombing intensified, I fled the house with my husband and two year old son. Hundreds of people were running in the street… we found ourselves trapped between two tanks, which started shooting at us. My brother was injured so we had to turn back to our home. I saw a scene I will never forget… a little girl under the rubble of her house, still alive and calling for her mother and father. I couldn’t stop to help her. Imagine if my son was in her place. I heard later that she was rescued and is now at the hospital.

That night was the most terrifying and time passed extremely slowly. The bombing didn’t stop, and people didn’t know whether to flee their homes or stay. Death was waiting for us inside and outside. I saw injured and dead bodies in the street from my window.

There was a huge explosion next to the house, smashing all the windows and cutting my arm. We ran into the street without thinking. I ran for about three kilometres, shoeless in streets covered with glass and stones. I found a piece of white cloth that I waved as a white flag, and ran after my husband, who was carrying my son. We passed just metres away from the Israeli tanks.

We finally arrived at my aunt’s house and almost broke down. My husband held my son in his arms and cried. We saw death in every step and I can’t believe I’m still alive.

Fleeing in Gaza. Photo: Iyad al Baba/Oxfam
Fleeing in Gaza. Photo: Iyad al Baba/Oxfam


*Given the circumstances, I am only posting this author’s first name. Thanks to Keren Simons for sharing this story.