Prisoner in Gaza: – Palestinian-Norwegian Zaki:

Prisoner in Gaza: – Palestinian-Norwegian Zaki:

-Should we wait in line to die or what will happen?

In a sometimes contradictory line, Palestinian-Norwegian Zaki Kahil (46) recounts harrowing experiences in the war-torn Gaza Strip.

He is now with his wife, Rula Kahil (39 years old), in the southern Gaza Strip, in the city of Rafah, at the border crossing with Egypt. They had been staying here for the past few days, waiting for the possibility of getting out of the war zone.

The couple, who live in Mortensrud in Oslo, were on holiday in Gaza to visit family when the war broke out a week and a half ago. He says they have since fled the bombs from one place to another, but nowhere is safe.

Gaza victims: - Tragic

Gaza victims: – Tragic


-Running in fear

Zaki tells how during the first week they were moving around in complete darkness at night, while bombs were falling around them inside Gaza City.

When the message to evacuate the south came last Friday, Zaki and his wife chose to return to the house where they had lived in the days before the attacks began, to collect clothes and supplies.

They encountered a house that had been bombed, and they simply had to turn back.

Exit attempt: Zaki and his wife, along with thousands of others, tried to leave Gaza through the border crossing with Egypt, but so far no one has been allowed to enter or exit.  Photo: private

Exit attempt: Zaki and his wife, along with thousands of others, tried to leave Gaza through the border crossing with Egypt, but so far no one has been allowed to enter or exit. Photo: private
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– It was absolutely terrible. “We ran in fear through the streets while five bombs fell 200 or 300 meters away,” Zaki says.

Through a friend, they got a place in a car in the southern Gaza Strip on Saturday night. In total, there were eight people in the four-person car, plus all the belongings they were able to quickly transport with them – like a bag of salami, bread and some bottles of water.

Since arriving in Rafah, Zaki and his wife have waited for hours at border checkpoints, along with thousands of others – including many Norwegians.

– In the end we received a message from the State Department that there was a major bomb threat, and it became too dangerous to be there, he says.

Attacks continue: Injured Palestinians are evacuated from a building in Rafah after Israeli airstrikes on Tuesday.  Photo: Fatima Shabir/AP/NTB

Attacks continue: Injured Palestinians are evacuated from a building in Rafah after Israeli airstrikes on Tuesday. Photo: Fatima Shabir/AP/NTB
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Zaki and his wife now live with a friend in Rafah. They live in the apartment with more than 20 others. Zaki estimates that each apartment in the building houses dozens of people, and that the situation is the same throughout Gaza.

– He says that each house contains so many people that bombing the house now would be a massacre.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry published what it claimed was a wiretapped conversation between two members of Hamas. Video: Twitter/X, Associated Press. Reporter: Christina Corneliussen
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– Expect death

Although Israel has urged residents of northern Gaza to evacuate to the south “for their safety,” the days are marked by frequent bomb attacks there as well, Zaki says.

– They bombed two neighboring houses without warning today. Zaki says it has become routine.

Massive destruction: Palestinians inspect the devastation caused by the Israeli attack on Rafah on Wednesday.  Photography: Saeed Al-Khatib/AFP/NTB

Massive destruction: Palestinians inspect the devastation caused by the Israeli attack on Rafah on Wednesday. Photography: Saeed Al-Khatib/AFP/NTB
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According to his estimates, one of the bombs fell about 200 meters from the apartment where he lived.

-You expect to die. Zaki says: But we are still breathing.

He says they live in constant fear of being the next target.

-It’s dangerous everywhere. Although serious is not a word that can describe the situation.

Refugees: Residents of the southern city of Rafah flee for their lives during an Israeli air strike on Wednesday.  Photograph: Muhammad Abed/AFP/NTB

Refugees: Residents of the southern city of Rafah flee for their lives during an Israeli air strike on Wednesday. Photograph: Muhammad Abed/AFP/NTB
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Lack of food and water

In addition to the imminent fear of attack, there is a shortage of almost all basics, such as food, water and the ability to wash and go to the toilet, Zaki says.

Water shortages also mean that toilets do not work, and sanitary conditions are terrible.

– The sewage network is full and is flowing into the streets. “We can smell it every second, whether outside or inside the apartment,” Zaki says.

There is no electricity either.

But the main problem is the lack of food and water. Not all of the stores that still have supplies dare to stay open, he says, and since ATMs need electricity, it’s not easy to get money out either.

Zaki and his wife got some supplies from a nearby UN school, and each has their own water bottle that they ration.

Ratio: Zaki talks about the great shortage of water and food.  He says bottled water should be rationed.  Photo: private

Ratio: Zaki talks about the great shortage of water and food. He says bottled water should be rationed. Photo: private
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He is also afraid of silence

Although the bombs are about to fall, there are moments when things calm down. When Dagbladt spoke to him Tuesday afternoon, it was quiet for two hours. But even in these moments he is unable to relax.

– Why is it quiet here? Then there might be bombings in other places, and we think about whether it was someone we know who lost their life.

Since the outbreak of war, his and his family in Gaza have been divided, and there is little contact. When they are rarely able to contact those remaining in Gaza City, the few seconds are used only to convey signs of life. There is little time for anything else.

-We only thank God that they are still alive.

Searching for survivors: People search for survivors in a building left under rubble after an airstrike in Rafah on Tuesday.  Photo: Fatima Shabir/AP/NTB

Searching for survivors: People search for survivors in a building left under rubble after an airstrike in Rafah on Tuesday. Photo: Fatima Shabir/AP/NTB
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Zaki says that on the first day of the war, family members had to pay with their lives when their brother’s house was bombed. Most of the family was traveling abroad, but his two nephews were at home.

One of them was found under the rubble, and he was buried with my mother, who died a few years ago. No one else was found.

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– no choice

Since the outbreak of war, at least 3,200 Palestinians have lost their lives in the Gaza Strip, according to Palestinian health authorities. Thousands were injured.

Zaki says that there is now no room in many places to bury the dead, and mass graves are being created.

– Civilians must be protected, and humanitarian aid must be allowed to enter. If not, we are talking about a complete disaster, and more and more people will die as a result of the lack of very basic needs, he says.

In Rafah, there is still access to the Internet, which means he can stay in touch with the outside world, as long as the generator is running.

Have Internet: In Rafah, there is still access to the Internet for those who have electricity, says Zaki.  In the apartment where he lives, they have a generator, so they can charge phones and communicate with the outside world.  However, there is a shortage of fuel to operate the unit, and Zaki does not know how long they will be able to get electricity.  Photo: private

Have Internet: In Rafah, there is still access to the Internet for those who have electricity, says Zaki. In the apartment where he lives, they have a generator, so they can charge phones and communicate with the outside world. However, there is a shortage of fuel to operate the unit, and Zaki does not know how long they will be able to get electricity. Photo: private
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He said on Tuesday that his last contact with the Norwegian Foreign Ministry was on Monday evening. He describes communications as good, and believes the Foreign Office has been helpful, despite the fact that there is little they can do for Norwegians trapped in Gaza.

The plan now is to stay where they are and wait for negotiations between the American, Egyptian and Israeli authorities, says Zaki.

-We strive, but we have no choice. We just have to try to persevere.

a prayer: Doctor Mads Gilbert prays for Jonas Jar Sture after the brutal attack on a hospital in central Gaza. Host: Annabelle Brun / Dagbladet TV
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At least 170

According to Foreign Minister Espen Bath Eide, there are at least 200 Norwegians residing in Gaza.

The State Department said Monday they should assess the risks themselves by traveling south and trying to cross the border.

-We fully understand that this situation is difficult for Norwegian citizens in Israel and Palestine, and that many are afraid of it. They are in a very difficult situation,” communications consultant Henrik Hoel told Dagbladet.

He added that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is working hard to find exit opportunities, and that helping Norwegians in Gaza is its top priority.

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Jabori Obasanjo

Jabori Obasanjo

"Coffee trailblazer. Certified pop culture lover. Infuriatingly humble gamer."

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