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Ottawa woman's family in Gaza killed in Israel-Hamas war


An Ottawa woman says several members of her family were killed in Gaza during a strike by Israeli forces this week.

Last Saturday, Hamas, a designated terrorist entity in Canada, launched a large-scale attack against Israel, killing hundreds of people. Israel declared war the following day and promised a response that would "reverberate for generations."

Hala Alshaer spoke on CTV Morning Live on Friday, to share her family's story.

"All Palestinian families had a feeling that something like this was coming," she said. "It's not something new to Palestinians. It's something that's been ongoing for many years."

Alshaer said she's lost 10 family members on her mother's side and six on her father's side, some of them as young as one and two years old.

"It's been an emotional rollercoaster, to say the least," she said. "We feel stuck. We feel like there's not much that we can do. We can pray, we can share. We want to share our side of the story."

On Friday, the Israeli army ordered civilians to evacuate Gaza City, while Hamas urged people to stay in their homes. The United Nations said such a mass exodus of an estimated 1.1 million people could cause untold human suffering. The region is also affected by a severe water shortage and a lack of medical supplies.

"These are real human beings. These are people who have families," Alshaer said.

Members of Hala Alshaer's family, who she says were killed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza. (Supplied)

Gaza's Ministry of Health said Saturday that more than 2,200 Palestinians had been killed, including 724 children. The Israeli government says Hamas assault killed more than 1,300 Israelis, most of them civilians.

"It's been very challenging, very hard to cope," said Alshaer. "The children of Gaza are crying for help and the whole world is witnessing everything."

Alshaer said she feels like the world is turning a blind eye to the devastation in Gaza.

"It's really, really challenging times on all Palestinian families, on all Arab families, on the Muslim community. The fact that we're watching this unfold live, it's difficult," she said.

Canadian officials said this week it plans to keep delivering humanitarian aid to Gaza and the West Bank, but Israel also stopped the entry of food, fuel and medicine into Gaza ahead of a planned ground offensive.

While Hamas has been designated a terrorist entity by Canada and many other western governments, Alshaer said it's important to separate them from the civilians in Gaza.

"I don't think that these one-year-old or two-year-old or 15-year-old children are considered terrorists in the eyes of the world," she said. "At the end of the day, the civilians are the cost, no matter what they think. This the reality of the issue. The reality of the issue is the civilians are the cost."

Alshaer's brother, Mohamed-Obay Alshaer, said in an email to CTV News that the lives of these family members were unfairly cut short in an "indiscriminate airstrike" by Israeli forces.

"Nobody in this family was part of Islamic Jihad or Hamas," he wrote. "There was no warning to them, no text message, no phone call or leaflet sent to them."

He provided a list of names of the family members he says were killed:

Amin Elagha - 61 years old

Sanaa Wadi Elagha - 52 years old

Mohanad Elagha - 30 years old

Hind Abdul Jawad Elagha- 27 years old

Momen Elagha - 27 years old

Mamoun Elagha - 21 years old

Wassim Elagha - 19 years old

Sama Elagha - 15 years old

Yahya Elagha - 11 years old

Taleen Elagha - 2 years old

Aseel Elagha 1 year old 

--With files from The Associated Press. Top Stories

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