An Indian woman residing in Gaza with her family on Tuesday requested an immediate departure from the war-torn, Hamas-ruled territory out of fear for their lives amid ongoing Israeli bombings, news agency PTI reported.
“We are facing a brutal war here and everything is being destroyed in bombarded in a matter of seconds. We are paying the price of this conflict as civilians are being targeted,” Lubna Nazir Shaboo, an Indian from Kashmir living in Gaza, told PTI over the phone.
As of the fourth day of the Israel-Hamas battle, at least 1,600 people have died on both sides. On the Gaza side, 788 people were killed and 4,100 injured.
Shaboo, who is living with her husband, Nedal Toman, and youngest daughter, Karima, in Gaza, said the “water supply was officially cut off” in addition to electricity. Her two elder children live and study in Cairo, Egypt.
Internet connection in Gaza is also poor and only those with their limited net packs are able to establish contact with people outside. Israel’s defence minister Yoav Gallant on Monday ordered a “complete siege” of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. “I have given an order – Gaza will be under complete siege. There will be no electricity, food or fuel [delivered to Gaza]. We are fighting barbaric [terrorists] and will respond accordingly,” Gallant said.
The Kashmiri woman said that she hadn’t seen anything like this before and has currently two families living with them who had to run away after bombardment in the bordering areas of Gaza.
“We are not able to go anywhere because there is no safe place for us anywhere and the Gaza Strip is too small and it is closed from every side. There are no exit points over here,” Lubna said.
“I have already asked for help from the Representative office of India in Ramallah to help me get to a safer place along with my husband and my daughter,” she said in a video message sent to PTI. The only exit route from Gaza, the Rafah crossing with Egypt, was shut down on Monday practically closing all possibilities of escape for Gaza residents.
The Representative Office of India in Ramallah said they “are in touch and are trying to help all Indians but the situation on the ground constrains our options.” In addition, the Indian embassy in Tel Aviv is also actively looking for ways to assist all the Indians in the affected areas.
Earlier, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a nationally televised address: “We have only started striking Hamas. What we will do to our enemies in the coming days will reverberate with them for generations.”
Israel, Hamas start first truce in Gaza war
Israel and Hamas initiated a four-day ceasefire beginning on Friday. During this period, the militants are scheduled to release 13 Israeli women and child hostages later in the day, and aid is expected to enter the besieged Gaza enclave. This marks the first temporary halt in the nearly seven-week-long conflict, Al-Arabiya reported.
The truce began at 7 a.m. (0500 GMT), involving a omprehensive ceasefire in north and south Gaza, and was to be followed by the release of some of the more than 200 hostages taken by Hamas during the Oct. 7 attack inside Israel, mediators in Qatar said. A number of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons were to be freed in exchange.
Palestinian death toll in Gaza jumps to over 13,300
As of Monday, authorities in Gaza reported that the death toll resulting from the continuous Israeli attacks on Gaza since October 7 has surpassed 13,300.
In a statement cited by Anadolu agency, the Gaza-based government media office said the death toll includes 5,600 children and 3,550 women.
It added that the death toll also includes 201 medical staff, 22 members of civil defense rescue teams, and 60 journalists.
Since a cross-border attack by Hamas on Oct. 7, Israel has launched relentless air and ground attacks in the Gaza Strip.
Thousands of buildings, including hospitals, mosques, and churches, have also been damaged or destroyed in Israel’s air and ground attacks on the besieged enclave.
The Israeli death toll, meanwhile, is around 1,200, according to official figures.
First-ever cinema opens in Madinah Saudi Arabia
The inauguration of Empire Cinema’s multiplex in Madinah, Saudi Arabia, marks a historic moment as the city’s first-ever cinema, situated within the Al-Rashid Mall. Featuring 10 screens and 764 seats, including a dedicated children’s theater and play area, this branch signifies Empire Cinemas’ 10th complex in the country.
CEO Gino Haddad expressed that this expansion is a significant step in their Saudi presence.
The lifting of the cinema ban in 2018 by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman under Vision 2030 aimed at enhancing the quality of life and diversifying the economy.
AMC Entertainment became the first operating cinema in 35 years, followed by Saudi Arabia’s substantial investments in the entertainment sector, including a $100 million film fund announced at the Cannes Film Festival.
Recent reports from the Ministry of Commerce highlight a 28% growth in the Saudi cinema industry in the second quarter of 2023 compared to the previous year. Predictions from PwC Middle East suggest that Saudi Arabia’s cinema revenue could reach $1.5 billion by 2030.
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