Soumya Santosh*

May 12th, 2021: Soumya Santosh*, 31, was killed by a Palestinian rocket fired from Gaza.

After Israeli forces pounded the Gaza Strip with missiles for two straight days, killing at least 35 Palestinians including 12 children, and refusing to respond to Palestinian demands for a withdrawal and a ceasefire, Palestinian resistance fighters in the Gaza Strip launched a barrage of rockets across the border into Israel, killing five Israelis, including a teenage girl and her father.

One of those killed has been identified as Soumya Santosh, from Kerala, India, who worked as a housemaid for an Israeli household in Ashkelon for the past seven years.

In addition, a 50-year old Israeli woman was killed in Rishon Lezion, just south of Tel Aviv.

Rocket sirens sounded throughout the night in Israel’s southern towns and cities, and the Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv was briefly shut down. 26 Israelis were reportedly injured – most with minor injuries.

The rockets were fired in the early morning hours on Wednesday, as Gaza’s hospitals were besieged with hundreds of wounded Palestinians, many of them children, who suffered traumatic and severe injuries from the numerous Israeli missile strikes into crowded Palestinian neighborhoods throughout Gaza on Monday and Tuesday.

In addition to bombing Palestinian neighborhoods for two straight days, the Israeli military called up 5,000 reservists and had them stationed at the border with Gaza to threaten the Gaza Strip with a possible ground invasion.

The Palestinian resistance responded to this violent aggression with rocket fire directed toward Tel Aviv. This marks the longest-range rockets that have been fired by the Palestinian resistance to date. Other rockets fired in the past have reached as far as the coastal Israeli city of Ashkelon (formerly the Palestinian town of Azkalan), but had not had the range or capacity to reach the Israeli capital Tel Aviv (built on the former Palestinian town of Yaffa) before.

Israelis in the cities of Sderot, Holon and Ashkelon rushed to shelters and many stayed there overnight to try to avoid the impact of Palestinian resistance rocket fire.

Israeli media reported that at 8:45 A.M. on Wednesday, Israeli forces intercepted a drone crossing from Gaza into Israel.

The teen girl and her father who were killed by a Palestinian resistance rocket, Nadine and Khalil Awaad, were themselves Palestinian – with Israeli citizenship. But their town, Dhamas near Lod, being a mainly Palestinian village, was never provided bomb shelters like the Jewish Israeli towns were provided by the government. In fact, their village, Dhamas, was not recognized by Israeli authorities, and so lacks basic services and is under threat of demolition by the Israeli government. One of their relatives, Ismail Arafat, lives there as well and has been part of leading the struggle for recognition of the village.

The Israeli news agency Ha’aretz quoted Ismail Arafat as saying, “We have nowhere to go. We don’t have a bomb shelter here for everyone. For the Thai [migrant] workers they built shelters, but we were not allowed because we are not humans. Nadine and Khalil were in the middle of breakfast before fasting [for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan]. It seems that he opened the door and that’s how he was hit.”

Soumya was from the Idukki district of Kerala, India, but had been living and working in Ashkelon, Israel when she was killed. Source: IMEMC