War in Israel: Greek man describes the horror his children experienced in a shelter - "It is not a war, but an atrocity"

Israel Palestine Gaza War October 2023

One of the Greeks who lived in Israel and were forced to return home to escape the atrocities of the war is Makis Levi, who returned to Greece yesterday.

He lived just 7km from the Gaza Strip and spoke to Mega about what he and his family experienced on Saturday when Hamas launched a surprise attack.

“It all started on Saturday morning as a typical flare-up, meaning only rockets were coming. We entered the shelter with my 8- and ten-year-old children, respectively. And since we live very close to the site of the attack, very soon, the sounds we usually hear in the area changed," Levi said.

"Suddenly, we heard sounds of automatic weapons. That's when I realised something else was happening; it wasn't usual. The images we see now are from places I pass daily with my children to go anywhere. It's my neighbourhood.

"The closest they got to us was 1 kilometre. That was the scary thing because you have two kids in the shelter, and we have intercom between us in the area, so you know it's in the previous settlement that they've gone in and killed and burned people.

"They have burned people in their house. This thing has escaped from the war and became an atrocity."

Levi emphasised that "we did not leave there directly because it was impossible. Our war routine, if you will, is that when we hear an alarm, we go into the shelter. Dad tries to figure out if it will last a few hours or days or if it's something bigger."

He then described images of horror experienced by those close to him.

"They burned the lady who minds my children in her house in the afternoon. My mother-in-law's house became unrecognisable because 5-6 Hamas people outside made it uninhabitable with automatic weapons.

"They escaped because they failed to open the shelter door. They took children from their homes and their parents and took them to Gaza.

"In another settlement, they beheaded children; in another settlement, they killed 100 people. I can't forget them; I try to sleep first; it's hard, it's still very fresh."

The foreign ministry announced that arrangements have been made for the return of 90 Greek citizens from Israel on an El-Al flight on Tuesday, thus completing the repatriation of all Greek visitors to the area.

A special flight chartered by the foreign ministry on Wednesday, meanwhile, will be available for Greek residents of Israel that wish to return to Greece. The ministry announcement stressed that every effort is being made for the safe return of all Greeks in the region who wish to return.

Meanwhile, Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou reiterated her condemnation of the barbaric and abhorrent attack of Hamas in a call with Israel's president Isaac Herzog on Tuesday, adding that terrorism can never be justified and legalized.

Sakellaropoulou expressed Greece's solidarity to Israel and its people, her sadness over the lives lost during the terrorist attack, and the hope those injured recover soon. Abductions and inhuman treatment are condemnable, she said, and called for the release of those kidnapped and held as war prisoners in the Gaza Strip so they may return to their countries.

Herzog thanked Sakellaropoulou for Greece's immediate support and solidarity, and updated her on recent developments.

Elsewhere, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Dimitris Koutsoubas met with Palestinian Ambassador to Greece Yussef Dorkhom at 13:00 on Tuesday. The meeting was held at KKE's headquarters in Perissos, north of Athens.

Greek migration minister Dimitris Keridis warned that even before the outbreak of hostilities between Hamas and Israel, Greece had already been facing the biggest surge in illegal migrant inflows in recent years.

Keridis said, “as if the multitude of flashpoints in northern Africa and Syria were not pushing thousands of migrants and refugees to Europe already, now this.”

The minister warned that escalating violence in the Middle East is likely add to migration pressure to Greece and the European Union as a whole, especially, he said, if Iran gets involved in the crisis and tensions boil over in Lebanon, Egypt, and Libya.

READ MORE: Greece Raises Concerns Over Potential Influx of Illegal Migrants Amid Israel-Hamas Conflict Escalation.

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