After several failed attempts to escape war-torn Gaza to safety in Egypt — one Southern California woman has finally made it to safety.
Naela Elshorafa, a 66-year-old Camarillo resident, said although she is deeply traumatized by the war, she remains thankful to be back in the U.S. very soon after being trapped in the middle of a living nightmare that she never saw coming.
“They’re bombing the area,” Naela is heard saying in a cell phone video as rumbling echoes are heard in the distance. “No electricity, no water, no nothing,” she said of their current state.
Naela is a Palestinian-American from SoCal who traveled to Gaza weeks earlier to visit her sick mother.
But everything changed in an instant on Oct. 7th — when the Palestinian terrorist group, Hamas, launched a surprise attack on Israel — killing more than 1,400 people. Israel declared war in response.
Just days after the violence erupted, Naela was nearing her escape from Gaza into Egypt through the southern border, but unfortunately, she didn’t make it across that time.
Her son, Nabil Alshurafa, spoke to KTLA from Chicago.
“She was so close,” Nabil said. “She was about 10 minutes from leaving the Rafah border between Gaza and Egypt and the Israeli airstrike bombed the border, trapping her, 600 U.S. citizens and thousands of international citizens.”
As they were trapped, Nabil said his mother and relatives would wait two-and-a-half hours in line just for bread — only to have the bakery leveled by the Israeli military.
“When they evacuated, they found refuge in the south and they were living about 47 people in a single home,” Nabil said of Naela’s escape.
The Israeli government has vowed to annihilate Hamas, launching airstrikes and ground operations against targets in Gaza.
But the mounting civilian toll has created a catastrophic humanitarian crisis, leaving thousands dead, communities reduced to dust and critical supplies virtually unattainable for citizens.
President Joe Biden and other world leaders have called for a “humanitarian pause” on Israel’s military offensive.
“It’s a massacre and it’s just unbelievable to me that our president gave the green light to Israel to bomb our own U.S. citizens,” Nabil said.
A large group of demonstrators took to the streets in West L.A. on Saturday, condemning the Israeli military offensive as a “genocidal invasion and occupation” of Gaza.
“Nabil, I have to ask you,” KTLA’s Chris Wolfe said. “Israel is saying something similar — that ‘We are the people under attack. So many in the world want to wipe us off the face of the Earth. It happened during the Holocaust.’”
Nabil responded, saying, “What happened on Oct. 7 was a horrific act. I don’t condone the killing of any individual, Israeli or Palestinian, and we mourn every single life.”
Nabil believes peace is possible in the region, but said Israel must work with the international community to achieve that goal.