Couple reunited after husband trapped in war-torn Gaza for months

Younis Aljakhbi, who lives in Baillieston, had been unable to leave the Palestinian territory amid Israel’s ongoing siege.

Glasgow couple reunited after husband trapped in war-torn Gaza for months amid conflict with Israel STV News

A couple from Glasgow have been reunited after a husband became trapped in Gaza while visiting family three months ago.

Younis Aljakhbi had been unable to leave the Palestinian territory amid Israel’s ongoing siege.

He had been in Gaza visiting family for the first time in seven years and was due to return on October 12, however, war broke out days earlier leaving him trapped.

In its October 7 attack that sparked the war, Hamas and other militants killed some 1,200 people in Israel, mostly civilians.

About 250 more were taken hostage and while some have been released or confirmed dead, more than half are believed to still be in captivity.

Since the start of Israel’s ground operation in late October, 186 Israeli soldiers have been killed and another 1,099 injured in Gaza, according to the military.

More than 85% of Gaza’s population of 2.3m has been displaced as a result of Israel’s air and ground offensive.

The Health Ministry in Hamas-run Gaza said on Saturday that 135 Palestinians were killed in the last 24 hours, bringing the overall toll of the war to 23,843.

The count does not differentiate between combatants and civilians, but the ministry has said about two-thirds of the dead are women and children. The ministry said the total number of war-wounded surpassed 60,000.

Now reunited with his wife Jola in Baillieston, Younis told STV News about the horrors he witnessed in the war-torn territory.

He said: “In the 21st century you can see a woman and a kid being killed in front of you and you can do nothing about it. What kind of life is that? What kind of world?  And you can do nothing about it. I don’t want to be in this world, nobody wants to. To see a mother and a kid holding a white flag, giving up, and they’re shooting them and killing them.”

While he was stuck in Gaza, Younis relied on a local hospital to charge his phone and access clean water.

When he finally got a text granting him safe passage back to Scotland, he was digging his next-door neighbours out of the rubble of an explosion.

He said: “All my conversations with my family are, who’s still alive? Who is alive?”

Despite the worry about family still living there, Jola and Younis are glad to be back together again.

Jola said “it was a very, very happy moment” when her husband returned to Glasgow.  

She told STV: “It’s hard for Younis coming back here from Gaza. You see everyone on the streets, acting like normal, it’s like nothing’s happening. Life goes on and you think, my family, my friends are being killed. It’s like a clash of two worlds.”

Recent developments, including US and British military strikes on Houthi-controlled sites in Yemen, have stoked growing fears of the war broadening into a regional conflict.

The strikes came in response to a Houthi campaign of drone and missile attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea, which they said was in response to Israel’s offensive in Gaza.

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