Bad Omen – Messages from Gaza Now – October 2023 – March 2024

Bad Omen

25 March 2024


During the last 2 nights, drones were over Rafah, occupying the sky and the space, with their sound, ugly sound, from dawn to sunset, without stop. I can’t sleep, and if I fall asleep for a little, this terrible sound wakes me up over and over again. It is the sound of death and agony. From time to time, besides the drone sound we hear an air strike followed in 10 to 15 minutes with the sounds of ambulance sirens. How many people were killed? How many buildings destroyed? How many people are under the rubble, dead or alive? Are there children among them? I can’t stop thinking about this until the drone sound brings me back from my thoughts to tell me that I am here! You won’t think of anything else; you won’t sleep!


My mother in the other room is crying from pain, the bed sores are spreading over her body, on her back, her shoulders, her bottom, and there is no medicine available in Gaza to help. The youngest child here, the daughter of my wife’s sister, is crying too, she wants to sleep and can’t because of the drone noise. It is very loud, very close, you feel the drone inside the house, inside the room, inside your brain, shouting at you! You won’t rest, you won’t sleep! I am here and I am allowed no other sensation but listening. The drone sound reminds me of the crow. The crow’s call is a bad omen in our culture. I used to hear my mother ask God to protect us from the devil when she head the crow call.


In Gaza, I lived in the Alutaz building. Several families, around 80 people; men, women, children and old people never left the place. I know all of them, some are friends, and not just neighbours. We would check on them whenever communications were working. They went through fear, panic, starvation, thirst, but they were determined to stay in their homes, and they decided not to leave. Several armed confrontations occurred in the area, and they were stuck in the crossfire. Several buildings around them were bombed and destroyed and yet, they did not want to leave their homes. All the building’s windows were destroyed, several flats were shelled and burnt. They put out the fire and stayed.


The mobile connection is very weak, but it gets stronger from midnight until 6 in the morning. I downloaded the messages from the WhatsApp neighbour’s group, which was full of chats. I went over them:



– Does anyone have any news from the neighbours?

– Yes, they are all safe, but the situation is really dangerous, the Israeli army is on the street.



– May God protect them.

– I pray for their safety.


– I just received an SMS from a neighbour; the Israeli soldiers are entering the building.



– I tried to call my father there, his mobile is off.

– I tried to call Abu Kareem, his mobile is off, too.



– Does anyone have any update from the neighbours?



– All neighbours were forced to leave the building and they are walking on Al Rashid Street (the sea road) towards the south. [This is from the last call with the daughter of Abu Ibraheem]

– Have any of the neighbours been arrested?

– May God bring us good news of their safety



– The latest news about our neighbours, at 8 pm, the Israeli soldiers entered the building forcing all the neighbours out onto the street, ordering men to stand in a row on the left side of the street and women and children on the right side facing each other. They tell all men to take off their clothes, they were guarded by several soldiers pointing guns on them. There were 2 armoured tanks, one at the top of the street and the other down the street, a sniper from each tank was pointing their gun at the neighbours as well.

– From time to time, they heard small explosions inside the building. They believe that the soldiers were exploding the locked doors of the neighbours who’d left their homes at the beginning of the war. The neighbours were kept in that place on the street from 8 pm till 2 am, then they were asked to go to the south using the sea road. Walking without any belongings; no clothes, no food, no money, no Identification, nothing. They walked.



– My father is so sick, he is slowing the others down, they separated. My father, my mom, and my younger brother are at Al Nabulsi roundabout, where the Israeli army killed more than 100 people who were waiting for food supplies 2 weeks ago. The other neighbours already passed my family.



– Do you know where they can find cars or any means of transportation?

– Not before Gaza valley.

– That is 8 km from our home.

– Yes.

– I hope they will make it, children and old people can’t do it.

– They will, by the will of God they will.

– Near Gaza Valley, there is a spot where the World Central Kitchen is receiving people who were forced to leave Gaza City, and is providing them with clothes and hot meals, and there is a primary health care unit there as well.

– I hope they will make it there soon.



– Any updates my dear neighbours? Any news?

– Bakri family just arrived at my place in Zawaida.

– I talked just now to Dr. Nasri, he is ok, with his family, they are still walking toward Dir Al Balah. I believe he will go to his brother there.



– My father did not make it. He died 1 km before the Gaza Valley. My mother and my brother carried him and made it to the World Central Kitchen.

– May he rest in peace.

– Oh my dear, so sorry for that, may God have Mercy on him.


Goodbye Abu Ashraf. God knows how good a neighbour, how good a man you were. Rest in peace, my dear.