A Palestinian man who calls Massachusetts home but originally comes from the Gaza Strip is waiting and hoping for word that his family there is safe.
Hamas militants launched a massive surprise attack on Israel from Gaza last weekend. Now, the territory is under assault by Israel.
WBUR's All Things Considered host Lisa Mullins spoke with the man, who wants to go only by his first name, Ayman, because he's concerned for his safety.
He came to the U.S. from Gaza 12 years ago and has lived in Massachusetts for five years. He has a wife and three children here. But everyone else they hold dear, from parents to siblings to nieces and nephews, is in the refugee camp where they live — Deir al-Balah — in the war zone.
On trying to reach his family, with whom he last communicated Tuesday:
"I tried to reach to them, like, through Facebook group chat, and it's extremely hard. I don't see anyone, you know, visible on the chat. So that's why I am extremely scared [for] their life, especially with my parents. As you know, the situation is very, very, extremely horrendous. The Israeli defense minister announced [they] are imposing a complete siege on Gaza. There will be no electricity, no food, no water, no fuel. And they will also cut medication in Gaza. That's why I'm super scared.
"And my dad, he has heart issues. My mother, she has blood pressure issues. And I am really scared about their life, because [officials are] also cutting medications [from] entering into Gaza City and for the last two days. Also, they destroyed the Gaza crossing, the main lifeline to Gaza."
On the most recent contact with his family:
"From my sister, I asked her, 'How are you guys doing?' She said, 'We are doing fine, but, the explosions are everywhere.' And most of the time, there are no notification if there's an explosion. So everyone is scared. Kids are scared. People don't sleep very well, because as you know, the drones are hovering."
On the conditions in Gaza:
"No place is safe, and no one knows how bad this will get. There are no shelters in Gaza. As people can imagine, Gaza has been under very crippling and strict siege since 2006. And [there's been] a shortage of food and supplies and medication for a while. Gaza has been, like, without electricity — [having] just four hours or six hours of electricity every day for the last 16 years.
"I just want to [know] if my mother is still alive, if my father is still alive. We are talking about their own survival. I mean, this is the only thing that comes to my mind. And if they have enough food or if they have enough medication."
On what he will do next as he waits for word:
"I am going to watch the news and try to call them again and again until I reach them. I hope I will see them in the near future, very happy and thriving ... As every normal human being, I wish them love. I wish them safety, and I send them my love."
This segment aired on October 11, 2023.