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Israel-Hamas war: Pregnant woman from UP with her IITian husband and daughter stuck in the Negev Desert in Southern Israel

While the Times of India said that the family is stuck in Tel Aviv, actually Sde Boker is over 170 km away from the Israeli capital, located in the heart of the Negev Desert in Southern Israel, and there is no report of any Hamas rocket attack on the small locality

Amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war following the horrific terror attack by Hamas on 7 October, a large number of foreigners are stranded in Israel. Among them is a family from Amroha, Uttar Pradesh, including a couple and their child, who are presently stuck in Israel amidst ongoing conflict, according to a report in The Times of India. The family includes thirty-year-old Jaideep Kaur, who is six months pregnant, her thirty-year-old spouse Mohit Randhawa who is an IITian (Indian Institutes of Technology) from Roorkee, and their three-year-old daughter.

The couple said that had never heard such an incessant clamour of sirens since arriving in the country after their wedding in 2020. Jaideep Kaur had a FaceTime interview from Tel Aviv in which she stated, “On October 7, around 6:30 am, the shrieking sound jolted us out of slumber. Within no time we were made to vacate our accommodations and move to a nearby shelter on the university campus (of Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research.”

She explained that when the pair evacuated they could only bring a few snacks and the essential necessities. “Later, we got to know the heavy concrete dwelling was impenetrable for the bombs and rockets raining on us. It kept us safe. In all, we were 50 in that bunker.”

The family is stranded in Sde Boker which is 74 kilometres from Gaza. She was expected to fly to India on 12 October to give birth at her parents’ house in Uttar Pradesh. “But the attack jeopardised all our plans. Let’s see what happens.” 

She conveyed, “Thankfully, we had Wi-Fi inside the shelter and could see videos and news of the horrific attack. My husband took away the phone and later allowed me to watch only web series but no news in order to prevent me from anxiety considering my pregnancy. We pray everything becomes normal and we get to meet our family in India soon. We cannot talk to them on the phone or WhatsApp, FaceTime is the only option available as of now.”

Her family was worried because they were unable to reach her for three days. Her 55-year-old father Surendra Singh Dhillon informed, “On Tuesday morning, around 11 am, I managed to connect with her after numerous failed attempts and was relieved to hear that my daughter, son-in-law and their kid are safe for now. I request the Indian government to safely evacuate those stuck in the war zone.”

Mohit Randhawa has ties with The Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research at the Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research in Midreshet Ben-Gurion, near Sder Boker.

It is notable that while the Times of India said that the family is stuck in Tel Aviv, actually Sde Boker is over 170 km away from the Israeli capital. It is located in the heart of the Negev Desert in Southern Israel. Moreover, there is no report of any Hamas bombing in the town. Hamas attacked Israeli areas close to the border, and most of its rockets are short-range.

While Hamas does have long-range rockets that can strike at a distance of up to 250 km, they are not guided, and they are used to strike heavily populated areas and cities in central and northern Israel. It is unlikely the terror organisation will fire a long-range rocket towards Sde Boker, a small town of around 1 square kilometre area with less than 500 population in the middle of a massive desert, as the probability of an unguided rocket hitting the kibbutz is extremely low. However, sirens did go off in Sde Boker and other areas far from the Gaza border on 7 October as a precautionary measure.

Israelis heard sirens just before dawn on 7 October as they were winding up the seven-day Jewish festival of Sukkot and they soon realised it wasn’t a false alarm. A massive surprise attack was being carried out by hordes of Hamas terrorists from the air, the sea and the ground which resulted in the gruesome murder of at least 1200 people including women children and the elderly as well as wounded thousands of others. Hundreds of them were abducted and taken hostage by the assailants who also raped women.

Many victims were left in the streets of cities and buildings were completely destroyed as thousands of missiles fired from Gaza flew through the sky and started raining down on random targets in the Jewish country. Simultaneously, hundreds of armed terrorists, many of whom were riding motorbikes stormed into communities as bulldozers breached the border between Israel and Gaza, catching Israeli soldiers off guard and opening fire on civilians.

Responding to the horrifying assault the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) on 7 October launched Operation ‘Iron Swords’ and began targeting Hamas targets in Gaza. All of the terrorists who sneaked into the country and targeted both civilians and Israeli security troops were taken into account in the operation.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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