PLYMOUTH, MASS. (WHDH) - A family from Plymouth is finally home after they were stranded in Gaza for weeks due to the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas.
The family landed at Logan Airport Tuesday afternoon and shared their story.
“You don’t know if you’re going to make it or not,” said Hazem Shafai.
The Shafai family embraced in emotional hugs as they stepped foot back in the United States.
Speaking with reporters, Shafai said the family would probably still be in Gaza “if they didn’t put the effort into getting us out.”
Shafai, his wife Sanaa and their three children had been visiting family in Gaza when the war between Israel and Hamas broke out in October.
“We basically woke up around 6 o’clock to rockets and Iron Domes,” Hazem Shafai said. “We were right in the middle of it. It’s a scary thought. Scary feeling.”
On the ground in Gaza, the Shafai family said, fresh water and food isn’t available. The family said civilians are starving.
“It’s hard,” Hazem said. “It’s difficult. People are actually suffering by the minute, not by the day, by the minute.”
The Shafai family escaped the devastation last week, fleeing to Egypt after six earlier attempts to get home.
One of their attempts to flee, the family said, failed due to a mistake on the Israeli customs list which had originally only allowed the parents’ to pass through and did not list their children to go with them.
With the experience now behind them, the Shafai family is thankful to be together back home on American soil.
Their hearts remain back in Gaza, though, with loved ones they left behind.
“We’re here, glad we’re here and we don’t actually feel the joy as we’re here,” Hazem said. “We left family and friends behind and we don’t have a way of communicating with them.”
I don’t feel the joy, but I feel safe and relieved that my kids are safe,” Sanaa said. “I hope that this will end very soon.”
The Shafai family said they are grateful for the federal government, their neighbors and their friends for helping them get home safely.
The family is now calling for a ceasefire.
(Copyright (c) 2023 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)