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Gaza Blogger Tweets Harrowing Tale of Dodging Israeli Warplanes as She Crosses the Rafah Border into Egypt

Categories: Middle East & North Africa, Israel, Palestine, War & Conflict
Nalan Al-Sarraj

Nalan Al-Sarraj Twitter profile picture.

Taking advantage of the brief ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, a group of around 70 Palestinian civilians escaped their homes and attempted to make it to Egypt through the Rafah border only to find it closed and deserted [1]. The group was trapped between Egypt and Gaza up until a few moments ago when Egypt opened the border.

“We started praying and crying expecting to die any moment”

It just so happened that my friend blogger 23-year-old Nalan Al Sarraj, who has been tweeting [2] about her experience living in Gaza ever since Israel launched another operation three weeks ago, was among those trying to escape. The daughter of a Libyan citizen, her mother, she hoped to make it to Egypt along with dozens of other foreigners.

Speaking to Mondoweiss’ Dan Cohen [3] and The Real News Network’ Lia Tarachansky [4], she described [1] the situation as such:

The situation over here is very scary. We’re more than 70 people, mostly women and children, and mostly they have foreign passports, half of which are Egyptian. I can see smoke and fire, and we can see the explosions very close to where we are. Israel has declared Rafah a closed area so we can’t even get out of this place.

Israel forces started heavy shelling in Rafah, targeting a hospital as well, 90-minutes after the 72-hour humanitarian  [5]ceasefire commenced in Gaza. Seventy Palestinians were killed and hundreds more injured in Rafah, bringing the total death toll in Gaza to around 1511, among whom 330 are children.

Nalan sent the following tweets as soon as she reached the Egyptian border with her mother, sister and a friend:

Luckily, Nalan may find some rest now, a luxury which the vast majority of Gazans cannot afford to have.

Since Israel launched a massive offensive against the 40-kilometer long coastal strip on July 8, more than 6,780 have been injured. Israel has bombed schools, a playground, hospitals, shelters and refugee camps. Three in four people killed in Gaza were civilians. On July 28, Israel attacked the only power plant in Gaza, plunging the congested strip of 1.8 million people into darkness. As Israel forces bombs residential neighborhoods, tens of thousands have been made homeless and are forced to take refuge in makeshift shelters.

This is Israel's third military operation in Gaza in 6 years. Excessive restrictions from Israel in the Palestinian territories of Gaza and the West Bank is why most of the world and the United Nations considers this territory “occupied [23]” by Israel. 

Follow our in-depth coverage: #Gaza: Civilian Death Toll Mounts in Israeli Offensive [24]