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British mother and children stuck in Gaza have experienced ‘horrible things’

Stephanie Abwasi and children, from Blackpool, want to flee Gaza and seek refuge in Egypt.

Jamel Smith
Monday 23 October 2023 15:19 BST
An Israeli bombardment caused damage on al Rashid main Street in Gaza City (AP)
An Israeli bombardment caused damage on al Rashid main Street in Gaza City (AP) (AP)

A British mother stuck in Gaza with her children said she has experienced “all sorts of horrible things”.

Stephanie Abwasi, her husband and four children moved from Blackpool, Lancashire, to Gaza a year ago. They now hope to flee the war-torn country and take refuge in Egypt.

She told CBS: “We’ve experienced bombing and planes flying over us and buildings destroyed – all sorts of horrible things.

“It’s not been a good experience.”

The family escaped their home in northern Gaza at night and journeyed to Khan Yunis, a city in southern Gaza.

Ms Abwasi said: “A building very close to us on our street was destroyed. We had to flee the house, flee our flat where we were living and go to Khan Yunis and stay with family members.”

Her son explained: “We had to run from our house in the middle of the night and many buildings near us have been bombed.

“One night we had to run to the hospital because we heard a noise in the street and we thought that the house across from us was going to get bombed.”

After fleeing, Ms Abwasi’s family lived with 43 people in one flat for a week, including her husband’s family members who also fled their homes.

“We are lucky we had somewhere a little bit safer – but still, nowhere is safe,” she said.

The family were staying in Northern Gaza to allow their children to learn Arabic. They are now waiting for the Rafah crossing on the Egyptian border to open so they can reach safety.

Currently, the Rafah border crossing is not open for foreign nationals seeking to flee bombarded and besieged Gaza.

More than 5,087 people have been killed in Gaza, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.

Israel is widely expected to launch a ground offensive in Gaza following Hamas’s October 7 attack in southern Israel.

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