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Home ยป ‘There Was No Safe Place’: Liverpool Family Tell Of Horror In Gaza As Israel-Hamas War Broke Out

‘There Was No Safe Place’: Liverpool Family Tell Of Horror In Gaza As Israel-Hamas War Broke Out

For over three weeks, Aladdin, Olfat and their 20-year-old daughter were surrounded by an endless barrage of bombs in Gaza.

After being trapped there, they managed to escape and have now returned to Liverpool and have shared their experience of war with Sky News.

The trio, with other family members, were at their home in Gaza City when Israel’s retaliation began following Hamas’s 7 October attack.

Image: Aladdin, Olfat and their 20-year-old daughter were surrounded by an endless barrage of bombs in Gaza They knew after the attack something was coming, they just didn’t know when.

Olfat Alsaqqa, who hadn’t returned to Gaza since she fled the war in 2014, says she’d never seen anything like this before: “At the beginning we felt very scared.

“We didn’t know what the reaction would be like from the Israeli side. At first they were quiet and then suddenly they started bombing everything.

“Towers were falling down very close to us and we didn’t know what we should do, whether our place is safe or not and where we should go.”

The family listened to the orders of the Israeli Defence Forces and fled south, taking Aladdin’s 97-year-old mother with them, and on route they witnessed endless destruction.

But in Khan Younis, where they stayed with other relatives, 27 in total, the rockets continued.

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Image: The family were in Gaza City when Israel’s retaliation began.

Image: Handout image from Aladdin and Olfat Alsaqqa of damage in Gaza Aladdin Saga, told Sky News: “There was no safe place in all of Gaza Strip. From the north to the south they are using the air, the sea, the land at the same time, bombing everywhere. You’re just sitting and waiting for your destiny.”

His wife added: “Everyday we were feeling that we were going to die and that we are the target. When the rockets stop, we just touch our bodies to check if we’re still alive. But then we don’t know when it is our turn, so it was miserable.”

Back in Liverpool, three of Aladdin and Olfat’s children were left worried, often without any communication with their parents – it’s all Olfat could think about.

“I was feeling very bad. I felt, that I’m not going to stay alive,” she said. “I was just telling my daughters and my son in the UK to take care of yourself, take care of each other.

“If we don’t come back, just try to stay together, don’t separate. And every time I say to Allah, ‘please protect my kids whilst they are by themselves’.”

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Image: The family listened to the IDF and fled south

Image: The couple say every day they heard a relative or a friend had been killed Whilst in Khan Younis the couple say leaving the house wasn’t an option, supplies were running out and every day they were hearing of a relative or a friend that had been killed.

Aladdin recalls one time he had to visit a hospital with a friend, whose daughter was badly injured. “We went there and what I saw, I couldn’t believe it was true, I thought I was dreaming. I saw bodies on the ground of the hospital.

“There were not enough beds to put the injured people on. People were bleeding, you’re walking on blood in the al Shifa hospital emergency department.

“There were not enough medics, doctors to accept the hundreds and thousands of wounded people. I’m walking through and I’m seeing people just die, and I can’t do anything for them.”

He says it’s a sight he’ll never forget. But this British-Palestinian couple do blame Hamas for what’s happening in their homeland.

Image: Olfat said ‘no one in Gaza likes Hamas… I blame them for everything’

Image: The family had tried six times to leave via the Rafah crossing Olfat said: “I don’t like Hamas. No one in Gaza likes Hamas. Everyone wants to get rid of Hamas. I blame them for everything.

“I also blame Israel for what they have done to us. I don’t want Israel on my land but I don’t want to get rid of my people because of that.

“We can do something else. This is not the right way to get rid of Israel and this is not the right way to get rid of Hamas.”

After six dangerous and risky attempts of trying to leave Gaza via the Rafah crossing with Egypt, Aladdin and his family’s names were on the list allowing them to leave.

They thank the British Foreign Office for helping them get to safety and return to the UK.

But while here the conflict in the Middle East continues – Aladdin says: “We feel guilty that we are alive and many people are still there.

“All the time, our minds are still in Gaza. If anything happened to my sister and mother who are still there I will never forgive myself.”