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Exclusive Interview: Survivor of Abduction at Nasser Hospital in Gaza Shares the Tragedy

I’m used to being technical and attentive to numbers and details in my articles. However, this time it’s something different. It will be an exclusive interview for News Academy International aimed at those who still have the courage to resist despite feeling their dignity and fundamental rights stripped away from them every day, both in body and soul. This man, whom we’ll call B., demonstrated kindness and gratitude despite fear and exhaustion on the night of our conversation. While I was in my warm studio, he was grateful simply because, thousands of kilometers away, there was someone ready to listen to his pain.

In recent days, Israel raided the Nasser hospital located in the southern strip, using all the violence at its disposal and deporting numerous people, including doctors and journalists. One of the three men identified by the IDF as perpetrators in the October seventh attack is, in fact, a journalist from Jerusalem Radio named Omar Khaled Abu Reida. Once again, we are faced with another bloody farce from Netanyahu and his failed government.

We at News Academy know, thanks to our continuous efforts in reporting and investigation, that these individuals will be relentlessly tortured, and some of them will die in anonymity. We call on the international community to take a clear stance against the illegality of these shameful actions.

The Nasser Hospital located in the southern area of Khan Younis has been continuously attacked from the air and the ground for at least a week. On February 18th, several humanitarian convoys carrying fuel were seen blocked 50 meters from the hospital by bulldozers intent on destroying the roads all around to prevent access.

This man, residing south of the Gaza Strip, found himself involved after taking refuge inside the complex. For days now, he has been alone and without his family. Ground forces have forced him to separate from close relatives because, after venturing out to find any form of food, the violence from the military and snipers prevented him from reaching what remains of his home.

Can you tell me what you experienced five days ago at Nasser Hospital in the Gaza Strip?
It’s difficult for me, but I want to try. I witnessed the arrest of those three men who they say were involved in the October 7th attack. Just before they were arrested, I spoke to one of them. I told him it wasn’t safe to stay there while he was recording with his phone what was happening. I ran away and saved myself. I don’t even know how I did it; they were shooting at me, and they were everywhere.

Who were these three men?
I don’t remember their names, but they weren’t doing anything wrong. Anyone who wasn’t injured was actually trapped in the hospital. All sides had been surrounded by snipers and bombs from the sky for days.
Others tried to stay until the last moment, then the military stormed in and arrested at least a hundred people. Among them were many doctors; I don’t know if there were also patients, but I assume there were. They were taken outside and beaten before being tied up and abducted. We don’t know where they’ve been transferred, but we believe they are now in the Negev Desert.

What weapons did the military have when they raided?
They had automatic rifles and machine guns, that’s what I saw.

How did you get to the Nasser Hospital?
Before the IDF reached the compound, they surrounded the city in all directions, and nobody was allowed to flee. Then suddenly, miraculously, they withdrew from one side. After a day, they gradually returned and besieged us on a large scale. They bombed us, surrounded the schools, forcing us to abandon them on foot, risking being killed by snipers through an area called Hallabat. They looted whatever little was left.

So many displaced people sought refuge in the hospital?
Yes, then they started bombing there too, they approached the gate, destroyed the walls, and invaded the courtyard. We were afraid, so afraid as they burned all the tents of the displaced. Even in the houses around Nasser Hospital, there were soldiers; I saw people taken to the squares and killed for no reason.

What have you been eating these days?
Every day I eat very little, mainly because of those who take advantage of the poorest even now and speculate on the black market with food and water, reselling them at prices impossible for us. Not everyone has the money to buy a bit of flour; prices are through the roof now. Either you have money or you starve; what little is left is very expensive. I had set up a small tent in the hospital courtyard, but the soldiers destroyed it. I have nothing left.

What have you eaten today?
Anything that helps satisfy your hunger, anything…

The testimony of this man ends with his words in hope for us to hear from him again soon and one day embrace him:
“This life is no longer worth living; I never imagined that hell like this existed. Please convey my words; if I die, I will have left something, something of me to my daughter, who perhaps will read it one day.”

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Antonietta Chiodo

Antonietta Chiodo Attualmente ha concluso la sua collaborazione con News Academy Italia. Antonietta Chiodo si occupa di diritti umani da sempre, nasce a Roma ma si diploma alla scuola del cinema di Milano, nel 2006 il progetto grafico da lei realizzato per denunciare la violazione dei diritti umani in Africa, creato in collaborazione con il Gruppo Abele e la Cooperazione Internazionale viene applaudito a Bruxelles. Nel 2012 passa un breve periodo nelle favelas brasiliane per documentare la vita dei bambini di Salvador de Bahia. Impegnata costantemente accanto al popolo palestinese passa un periodo della sua vita nei territori occupati nella Cisgiordania, documentando la difficoltosa vita della popolazione di Jenin, ricevendo così il premio da Amnesty International “ Giornalismo per i Diritti Umani”. Nel 2016 si impegna sulle coste calabresi per denunciare la sparizione dei minori non accompagnati. Nel 2017 conduce un importante progetto con un gruppo di minori ed insegnanti di un villaggio alle porte di Hebron. Oggi ancora lavora come fotoreporter e reporter per denunciare la costante violazione dei diritti umani, è curatrice della mostra fotografica itinerante Hurry Up in favore della liberazione di Julian Assange.

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