A London student killed in a retaliatory Israeli airstrike told friend he was “terrified” as he lay under the rubble days before his death.
Dr Maisara Alrayyes, 30, a former alumni of King's College London (KCL) and SOAS University, was stuck under the rubble with his family for 30 hours before they died.
Now a message from Alrayyes sent to his former classmates has been shared by KCL’s Justice for Palestine society.
He wrote: “In the last few days, I'm starting to feel more terrified than ever.
“I imagine myself underneath the rubble, and I have a great fear of staying alive under the rubble."
According to a post shared by the society, rescuers struggled to reach Alrayyes and his family due to a blackout and they all died while trapped.
Israel launched retaliatory strikes on Gaza after Hamas militants attacked southern Israeli towns on 7 October, killing 1,400 people, mostly civilians.
It was the single worst day of bloodshed in Israel's 75-year history.
Palestinian authorities claim that over 10,000 civilians have since been killed in the strikes, which Israel says are targeting Hamas figures who are holed up in civilian buildings.
‘Lively and happy and joyful’
Friends of Alrayyes posted tributes to him following his death.
Anas Ismail posted on X: "My best friend Maisara Alrayyes and his family were killed in an Israeli airstrike two days ago. His two brothers who survived have been trying to get the bodies from under the rubble. Another airstrike killed the two brothers while they were getting the bodies out."
Another tribute on X by Ahmed Alnaouq before Maisara's death was announced, said: "My best friend Maisara came to London two months ago for his honeymoon. He was lively and happy and joyful.
“And now it is more than 30 hours since his home was bombed and no one can retrieve his body or the bodies of his family from under the rubble."
Gaza strikes intensify
Israel continues to pound Gaza, with its forces fighting Hamas militants in the north on Thursday.
Residents in Gaza City – a militant stronghold in the north of the Hamas-ruled territory – said Israeli tanks were stationed around the city.
Israeli forces were moving closer to two hospitals where thousands of displaced Palestinians were seeking shelter, they said.
Israel, which has vowed to wipe out Hamas, says 33 of its soldiers have been killed in its ground operation.
Israeli soldiers also discovered a Hamas weapons manufacturing and storage site in a residential building in the Sheikh Radwan neighbourhood in northern Gaza, it said.
A humanitarian crisis has gripped the enclave, with basic supplies running out and buildings demolished by Israeli bombardments.
Tens of thousands of Palestinian civilians have fled the north of Gaza over Wednesday and Thursday seeking refuge from Israeli air strikes and the fierce ground fighting.
Israel has told residents to evacuate encircled northern parts of Gaza or risk being trapped in the violence.
Additional reporting by Reuters.