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Cambridge teacher ‘terrified’ for family in northern Gaza

A Cambridge teacher says he is “terrified” for his family members still living in Gaza amid Israel’s siege on the territory.

Mohammed Awad said his “entire close and extended family”, including his parents, siblings and young relatives, live in Jabalia in northern Gaza.

Mohammed Awad said he believes Israel’s siege on the inhabitants of Gaza is ‘outrageous and inhuman and immoral’ Picture: Mohammed Awad/PA
Mohammed Awad said he believes Israel’s siege on the inhabitants of Gaza is ‘outrageous and inhuman and immoral’ Picture: Mohammed Awad/PA

His family told him the atmosphere in Gaza is “full of the terrors of war” and they were trying to distract themselves, he said.

Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant ordered a “complete siege” following an attack by Hamas militants on Saturday, saying authorities would cut electricity and block the entry of food and fuel.

On Thursday, an Israeli military representative said they were preparing for a possible ground invasion of Gaza.

Mr Awad, an English teacher at a language school in Cambridge, said his family only has one hour of electricity per day, were fasting due to a difficulty accessing food and using candles at night due to blackouts.

He said his parents, siblings, and in-laws all live on the ground floor of a single house, which they haven’t been leaving “because they are terrified”.

His family are primarily relying on the radio for information as they have “no access to any TV channels” and very poor internet, Mr Awad said.

“Kids are crying. No one can sleep. There is a lack of food, a lack of fuel,” he said. “They were fasting today because no one could just shop for basic needs.”

Mr Awad said he was “terrified” for his family, adding: “I don’t eat or sleep for days now. I cannot control my emotions.”

British-Palestinian Ahmed, an IT consultant from Cambridge who did not wish to share his age or full name, but whose family lives in Khan Yunis in southern Gaza, told PA he was “extremely worried”.

“My dad, my mum, my two brothers, my two sisters… my whole family (live in Gaza),” he said.

“(I have been) looking on my Facebook making sure that I don’t have any posts from my friends saying that one of my family members has been lost.”

Ahmed said he is “completely mentally stressed” by the imagery being shared from the conflict on social media.

He also distanced the Palestinian people from the actions of Hamas militants.

“There are lots of civilians who have nothing to do with what’s going on and simply want to live,” he said.

“It’s like taking one single brush and colouring two million people with one single colour because of the actions done by a few people.

“We are all human beings and we all have the same rights.”

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