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A Vancouverite is concerned for his family stuck in the Gaza Strip | Middle East, the eternal conflict

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The Israeli army continues its offensive in Gaza.

Radio-Canada

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Omar Mansour knows very well: every call with his family, who is in the Gaza Strip, could be his last.

So, during these a few minutes where he can talk to his parents, his brother and his sisters, the Vancouverite makes it a point to tell them that he loves them.

I ask them how they are, but it always feels more like goodbye. And I tell them that I love them, he said in an interview with The Canadian Press. I thank them for what they did for me, because this may be the last call , the last time I hear their voices.

Five of his cousins ​​were killed by Israeli snipers last week, so that they were looking for food and water.

Near East, the eternal conflict

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Israel pounded several areas of the Gaza Strip with airstrikes and artillery on Saturday. The day before, the United States vetoed a United Nations resolution that demanded an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres invoked for the first time Article 99 of the UN Charter, which allows a UN chief to highlight threats he sees to international peace and security. He warned of a humanitarian catastrophe in the Gaza Strip.

But Deputy US Ambassador Robert Wood argued that stopping the Israeli army's military action would allow Hamas to continue to rule Gaza and sow seeds of the next war.

The current war was sparked by Hamas' surprise attack on October 7 in southern Iraq. x27;Israel. In it, militants killed around 1,200 people in Israel, most of them civilians, and captured around 240 hostages.

Gaza's Hamas-run health ministry said the death toll in the territory had surpassed 17,400 over the past two months, with more than 46,000 injured. The ministry does not differentiate between civilian and combatant deaths, but has estimated that 70 percent of victims are women and children.

Gaza's borders with Israel and Egypt are closed, leaving 2.3 million Palestinians with no choice but to seek refuge in the 40 kilometer long and some 11 kilometer wide territory.

Omar Mansour, who has lived in Canada since 2014, said his family took refuge in a United Nations-run school near Gaza City . The small building is completely filled.

His relatives, however, are well aware that the school could be bombed at any time, he explained. All families are in day-to-day survival mode, according to him.

During a week of ceasefire, his family walked to x27;at his home in the northern part of the Gaza Strip. His 23-year-old brother, Firas Omar, described the scenes he saw during his journey, describing piles of stones that were once homes, hospitals, schools and businesses. /p>Open in full screen mode

Omar Mansour (left) during a visit to members of his family in Gaza. (Archive photo)

The Mansour family house is now in ruins, he lamented. The family members searched the ruins with their bare hands and were able to find the documents they had kept in a safe, as well as a few cans of food. A can of tuna, a few cans of beans and some corn, he listed. My mother and father are starving.

His family had the opportunity to shower for the first time since October 7 during the ceasefire. But there is no water to wash their clothes and they don't know when they will be able to shower next, he added. There is no water to drink either!

Since the ceasefire ended on December 1, the Vancouverite's family has eaten a few spoonfuls of canned food, while trying to make it last as long as possible.

They have very little left. Firas is afraid to go out to get food, because there are snipers everywhere, he says.

His mother, Sanaa Omar, who is in her sixties and needs medication, has not seen a doctor since the start of the war, he said. She is tired, exhausted even. Exhausted by all this tension, he said. She just wants to get out of this situation, to find some peace.

Asked about how his family found the resilience to continue, Omar Mansour said answered: Do they have another choice? No one has any other choice.

With information from the Associated Press and The Canadian Press

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