- Rana Akila spoke to Insider about life for her family under Israeli attacks on Gaza.
- Akila, a mother of two, said she witnessed an IDF airstrike on a convoy of people fleeing northern Gaza.
- “It’s really horrible,” she said. “The bombing is everywhere.”
This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Rana Akila, a 35-year-old mother of two children — a boy, 8, and a girl, 6 — who works as a translator in Gaza.
She tried fleeing her home in downtown Gaza City on Friday, complying with an evacuation order from the Israel Defense Forces, only to witness an airstrike on a convoy of vehicles that is now confirmed to have killed civilians, including women and children.
I can tell you what we are living right now is horrible. We have never witnessed such a horrible thing. We cannot actually say it’s a war because a war is between two equal parties; we are not even equal. It’s a genocide. Huge massacres are being committed right now. Many people have been killed in this horrible war.
There were air raids on people who were fleeing yesterday. I was one of these people, waiting in a long queue on the road, which was supposed to be safe. I tried to evacuate with my mother and brother but we couldn’t — a few cars away from us was a bombing. The war planes targeted cars, which we were close to.
I got out of our car and we ran away. We ran away, taking the children with us. We tried to take cover. Unfortunately, when we returned later, our car was broken down. We managed to fix it, and we came back to our home. Today we tried again, and we made it alive, thankfully. Now we are in Deir el-Balah, which is an area close to the south of Gaza.
We had lived in Ramal, in downtown Gaza City, among the areas that were ordered to evacuate. In terms of what I’m going to do in the hours ahead, I don’t know. I don’t know. Actually, all of us, we don’t know what to do, because they bombed here — even in Deir el-Balah, where we are right now, they bombed. They targeted a house, which had many children. My brother, he works at the hospital here, Shuhada al-Aqsa. He’s telling us that most of the people killed are children, under even six years old.
It’s really horrible. It’s really — I don’t know. We are scared that in the next hours the IDF will come and say, “People from this area, you must flee to the south.” Where to go? We don’t know where to go. Sometimes I think that we shouldn’t have left even, and we should go back to our homes.
But nowhere is safe now. The bombing is everywhere. We can hear it here, even in the claimed safe area. I hope to be safe with my family. I hope. We cannot tell. Every day we sleep and we wish that we will wake up in the morning.