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Cambridge resident says 10 family members killed in Gaza


A Canadian-Palestinian woman in Cambridge is speaking out after she says 10 of her family members were killed in an airstrike in Gaza.

The woman, who wants to remain anonymous out of concern for her remaining family in the besieged territory, says she was at a local mall when she got the news the area where her family lives was being bombed.

“We were trying to call but no one picked up,” she says.

Since the start of the Israel-Hamas war, she says she had been in contact with family members a couple times a week. She says her family would update her after airstrikes so when she heard nothing from them on Friday, she felt something was wrong.

"We heard that there was bombings in the area where the majority of our family lives, which is middle of Gaza."

She says later that night, she received devastating news. The three-story apartment building her family was in had collapsed. Her aunt, uncle and cousins, who were on one of the lower floors – six adults and four children – were killed.

“I think the first night we didn’t sleep because we knew by then that whoever was under the rubble hadn’t survived, but the only two bodies they were able to get out was my aunt and her husband,” she says.

The last body, her cousin’s seven-month old baby, was removed Monday, she says.

Because she visited just last year, she says the memory of the family members she lost is fresh in her mind.

“My aunt was a very loving person, she’s one of the kindest people I know, and her husband is actually – he always used to make me laugh – he had such a loud laugh that I sometimes would hear it approaching their house,” she says. “Their daughter is my age – a couple years older. I remember when I was younger and we used to visit, we’d always be sitting together and playing together, I’d tell her my secrets and she’d tell me hers, they were very loving and they were very kind people.”

She says she hasn’t been able to grieve properly out of concern for other family members in Gaza.

“The fear of additional loss is overpowering our grief to be honest,” she says.

CTV News has not been able to independently confirm the deaths.

The local Canadian-Palestinian woman is among many who hope for an end to the violence, calling on international leaders to broker a ceasefire and find a long-lasting solution.

“I wish the war would end very soon because we can't handle any more loss," she says.

CTV's Hannah Schmidt speaks with the Canadian-Palestinian in her home in Cambridge. (CTV News Kitchener)


Canada would like to see a "de-escalation" in the conflict between Israel and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip and new talks toward a long-term peace in the region, Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly said Monday.

But she stopped short of calling for a ceasefire despite growing pressure from within Canada, and her own party, to do so.

"I think it's important that we send a clear message of de-escalation, but also that we are able to talk about peace and stability," she said from the United Arab Emirates, where she was meeting with her counterparts on the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis.

Joly did not specify what a de-escalation looks like to Canada and never used the word ceasefire.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke Sunday with leaders from the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Italy. An official summary of that conversation did not mention a ceasefire or a humanitarian pause.

It said the leaders "reiterated their support for Israel and its right to defend itself against terrorism and called for adherence to international humanitarian law including the protection of civilians."

Joly also said Monday there are concerns about the conflict expanding and that Canada believes long-term peace in the region requires renewed talks toward a two-state solution.

More than 5,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since the war between Israel and Hamas broke out on Oct. 7, Gaza’s Health Ministry said Monday.

Fatalities include 2,055 children and 1,119 women, according to the ministry. More than 15,270 others have been wounded

In Israel, the death toll stands at 1,400 – mostly civilians who were killed in the initial Hamas rampage into southern Israel.

With files from The Associated Press and The Canadian Press Top Stories

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