A man who has lost 20 of his relatives in a single airstrike in Gaza has called on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to ‘stop the slaughter’ as he reveals he has no idea if his two sisters are alive or dead.
Ahmed Alnaouq, 29, from London, posted a video on Facebook showing the utter ruins of his family home in the Gaza Strip which is nothing more than a pile of rubble.
He says his 75-year-old father, two brothers, three sisters, a cousin and 13 nieces and nephews, all of whom were children as young as one, were killed in the blast.
It comes as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his citizens the IDF had entered the ‘second phase’ of the war against terror group Hamas and called again for Palestinian citizens to evacuate to the south of the region.
Hamas militants broke into Israeli territory on October 7 and killed more than 1,400 people, the vast majority of whom were civilians.
Ahmed Alnaouq moved to London from his home in Gaza in 2019 to train as a journalist
Ahmed Alnaouq, 29, from London , posted a video on Facebook showing the utter ruins of his family home in the Gaza Strip
In response, Israel has been pounding Gaza, home to 2.3 million people, with airstrikes and tank artillery, killing a reported 7,700 people including more than 3,500 children.
Speaking to the Mirror, Mr Alnaouq said he has been unable to contact his two surviving sisters since Friday’s communications blackout.
‘They are alone in Gaza. If they haven’t been killed already, I fear they may soon be,’ he said.
Almost all means of communication have been cut off in Gaza, leaving people like Mr Alnaouq unable to contact their friends and loved ones.
Charities including Oxfam condemned the move on Friday night, with many pointing out it would leave lifesaving medical services completely in the dark about where those most in need are.
Mr Alnaouq moved to the UK four years ago to study journalism, leaving his family behind in Gaza. But on the morning of the bombing, he awoke to find dozens of messages on his phone, before a friend told him what had happened.
‘Words can’t describe what I’m going through,’ he said. ‘My message to Rishi Sunak is please stop this slaughter. This is not a war on Hamas, it’s a war against the Palestinian people.
‘It felt like my heart was going to come out of my chest […] I would not wish that feeling on my worst enemy.’
He was told by one of his sisters, who visited the site of the bombing last weekend, that nine of his relatives bodies remain trapped under the rubble.
He was told by one of his sisters, who visited the site of the bombing last weekend, that nine of his relatives bodies remain trapped under the rubble
Sharing a video of the scene on social media, Mr Alnaouq said: ‘This is the house where my family was killed. Do you see these numbers? These stones?’
Israel has stepped up its bombing campaign as it enters the ‘second phase’ of the conflict
Earlier on Saturday, Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said the war had ‘entered a new phase’ with the intense overnight bombing campaign
Israeli Iron Dome air defense system fires to intercept a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip
Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu had previously refused to authorize an invasion as he rallied political support – angering military chiefs as their western allies began to call for a ceasefire
Huge plumes of smoke rise from the site of an Israeli attack on Gaza on Saturday morning
‘She couldn’t see them, but she could smell them,’ he said.
Sharing a video of the scene on social media, Mr Alnaouq said: ‘This is the house where my family was killed. Do you see these numbers? These stones?
‘These stones and marbles are now mixed with my family’s blood, mixed with their bodies, mixed with their memory, mixed with my mother’s fatigue and my father’s fatigue, who spent all their lives living in it.’
In a heartbreaking plea he continued: ‘What could make me forgive? And how will I forgive them? And how will I forgive myself for not being with them on such days? And how will I forgive myself for failing them?’
The footage showed several people picking through a huge pile of dust and rubble which had personal belongings scattered on the ground.
He later thanked ‘my friends [in London] who have now become my family’ for their support.
Mr Alnaouq is a co-founder of We Are Not Numbers, a non-profit organisation launched in 2015 which seeks to tell the stories of Palestinians living in Gaza.
He created the organisation following the conflict between Israel and Hamas in 2014, which resulted in the death of his 23-year-old brother Ayman.