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Voices from the Israel-Gaza Conflict

SCOTT DETROW, HOST:

The updated death tolls from Israel and Gaza tell the story of just how widespread and how deadly this weekend's attacks were. The surprise multipronged attacks by the Palestinian militant group Hamas against Israel have killed at least 700 people, according to reports in the Israeli media. Israel's military says it's continued to fight the militants on Israeli territory for a second day while also pounding Gaza with airstrikes.

(SOUND OF EXPLOSIONS)

DETROW: Palestinian officials say more than 400 people have been killed in Gaza so far. Thousands are injured as well in both Gaza and Israel. This latest burst of violence, shaping up to be the most serious in decades, began with an unprecedented wave of attacks by Hamas militants. The militants infiltrated several Israeli communities, using a variety of methods, including boats and paragliders. They fired on civilians and soldiers alike and engaged Israeli security forces in gun battles. They took hostages. All the while, militants also fired thousands of rockets from Gaza. Hospitals in Israel quickly filled with people injured in the attacks.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: (Speaking Hebrew).

DETROW: NPR's Daniel Estrin spoke with people anxiously awaiting news of their loved ones at one medical facility.

DANIELA ZEITUNI: So we're here waiting.

DANIEL ESTRIN, BYLINE: Waiting for?

ZEITUNI: Information. Something.

DETROW: Daniela Zeituni (ph) is comforting her friend, Batsheva Aluz (ph), whose son is missing.

BATSHEVA ALUZ: (Speaking Hebrew).

DETROW: "He is alive," the woman said about her son. Maybe they're looking for him in the field. Bring me my son, she pleaded. Another man, Ilan Troen (ph), was mourning the loss of his daughter and son-in-law. He struggled for words to explain what had happened. He referenced the Shoah, the Holocaust.

ILAN TROEN: The world does not work in a straight formula. We know that from the Shoah. We know that from all kinds of life experiences. This is just another one to add to the long list of events that we just can't understand.

DETROW: Israel's response to these attacks was swift and also deadly. Israeli airstrikes rained down on Gaza. Thousands of people sought safety in crowded U.N. shelters. One man, Hassan Gabayan (ph), told NPR that most Gaza residents were struggling to make ends meet, even before this latest violence erupted.

HASSAN GABAYAN: (Through interpreter) We do not have the basic aid, like milk for the children, and no one will support us. We have no capability for this. Times are quite difficult.

DETROW: Still, he said, he supports the attacks by Hamas. One of his distant relatives, Baheera Gabayan (ph), agreed with him.

BAHEERA GABAYAN: (Through interpreter) I salute the resistance, and I am very proud of them. Until when are we supposed to live under occupation and siege? Either we live a life of dignity or we die.

DETROW: Those are voices from Gaza and Israel reacting to the events there over the past couple of days. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Scott Detrow is a White House correspondent for NPR and co-hosts the NPR Politics Podcast.
Michael Levitt
Michael Levitt is a news assistant for All Things Considered who is based in Atlanta, Georgia. He graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in Political Science. Before coming to NPR, Levitt worked in the solar energy industry and for the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington, D.C. He has also travelled extensively in the Middle East and speaks Arabic.
William Troop
Majd Al-Waheidi
Majd Al-Waheidi is the digital editor on Morning Edition, where she brings the show's journalism to online audiences. Previously, Al-Waheidi was a reporter for the New York Times in the Gaza Strip, where she reported about a first-of-its-kind Islamic dating site, and documented the human impact of the 2014 Israel-Gaza war in a collaborative visual project nominated for an Emmy Award. She also reported about Wikipedia censorship in Arabic for Rest of World magazine, and investigated the abusive working conditions of TikTok content moderators for Business Insider. Al-Waheidi has worked at the International Center for Religion & Diplomacy, and holds a master's degree in Arab Studies from the Georgetown School of Foreign Service. A native of Gaza, she speaks Arabic and some French, and is studying Farsi.