Greek living in Israel: "They were knocking on our door for 10 minutes"


Achilleas Peklaris, a Greek journalist who lives with his wife and two children permanently in the city of Haifa, Israel, described in a Facebook post the anguish and nightmare he experienced when people knocked persistently for 10 minutes on the door of his house in the early hours of Sunday.

He spoke of the "worst war in many decades" in the region but remained calm, stressing that "we will wait for the developments in the coming days and reassess the situation".

Read the post of Achilleas Peklaris

"Sunday dawns, and the country is at war, the worst in many decades. What is happening is beyond imagination, unimaginable and completely unexpected.

"What we saw in Season 3 of Fauda, when Daesh jihadists were going in and out of Israel and entering houses, taking hostages, etc., we all thought the script was 'too far-fetched'. After all, what has happened since yesterday is ten times worse.

"And unfortunately, what comes next will be even worse and drag on for quite some time.

"We and our little ones remain absolutely safe and calm for now. We decided not to leave the country, not to leave our home, as long as we could stay that way. All the members of our family are safe, as well as our close ones. We'll wait for the next few days and reassess the situation.

"At 3:30 in the morning, we were awakened by persistent knocking on our apartment door. Luckily, the babies were fast asleep and didn't make any noise. We tiptoed to the peephole in the door. I saw two men in police uniforms. The directive from the security authorities was clear: 'Don't open up to anyone you don't know, no matter what they say.'

"That's what we did. The knocks continued for about ten minutes, like a living nightmare, like waking up in a thriller. We both held our breath and hoped the babies wouldn't wake up and start crying.

"After the two uniformed men left, we contacted the local Police Department. Luckily, they confirmed it was theirs and 'they were looking for someone, not you.' We informed them that 'no one was here.' Matteo and Libby luckily continued to sleep like angels.

"But I would like to take this opportunity to thank the hundreds of good friends for their messages of support, concern, and wishes for peace. I would also like to thank all the good colleagues from the Greek media who contacted me to put me on broadcasts and news bulletins.

"As I wrote in the previous post, I am currently on a journalistic holiday as a father of newborns. I can't leave Natalie and our little ones to go to the front and cover the events.

"And from the safety of my living room, I have nothing new to add or more than what is already being reported by the international and local media.

"And most of all, I don't want to bring this horrible energy into our home, which must remain calm, peaceful and sunny at all costs. It is our priority.

"Meanwhile, dawn broke. Natalie does meditation to balance the horror. I read the news. Libby and Matteo just woke up. We hugged them, and they smiled and looked at us innocently. In their world, there is still only peace, love and joy. And so it will remain."

Without warning on Saturday, Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers attacked Israel by air, land and sea. Millions of Israelis in the country’s south awoke to the searing sound of incoming rockets and the inevitable thud of impact.

Air raid sirens wailed as far north as Tel Aviv. Israel’s anti-rocket interceptors thundered in Jerusalem.

In an unprecedented escalation, armed Hamas fighters blew up parts of Israel’s highly fortified separation fence and strode into Israeli communities along the Gaza frontier, terrorizing residents and trading fire with Israeli soldiers.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his allies were scrambling to respond to the rapidly changing events. As the day wore on, the casualties quickly mounted.

Rescue Service Zaka, an Israeli group, said at least 200 people died in southern Israel and an additional 1,100 people were wounded.

At least 313 people in the Gaza Strip were killed and at least 1,610 wounded amid Israel’s retaliation.

Among those killed in Gaza were 20 children. About 2,000 others are wounded, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) said more than 20,000 Palestinians left Gaza’s border region to head further inside the territory and take refuge in UN schools.

Nebal Farsakh, the spokesperson of the NGO Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRC), told Al Jazeera that their medical teams were facing “great challenges” in Gaza, adding that they had called on the international humanitarian community to open humanitarian corridors so that NGOs like them could safely carry out their work of helping people in the Gaza Strip.

On Saturday night, Energy Minister Israel Katz said Israel would halt the electricity supply to the besieged territory. The Palestinian enclave – home to some two million people – has been under an Israeli air, land and sea blockade.

READ MORE: Approximately 300 Cypriots went to Jerusalem for a pilgrimage - Looking for return flights.

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