Kerala woman Soumya Santhosh, who died in Hamas rocket firings was a minute away from safety shelter

Santhosh was on a video-call with her husband in Kerala just before the rocket attack started
Last Updated : 12 May 2021, 22:17 IST

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The nearest ‘safety shelter’ was just a minute’s run away, but 32-year-old Soumya Santhosh could not reach it to save herself when the barrage of rockets fired from Gaza Strip rained into Ashkelon in southern Israel. She was with another woman – an 80-year-old, whom she was appointed to take care of.

Soumya, originally a resident of Idukki in Kerala, couldn’t survive the rocket attack on Tuesday. Her death, however, prompted the Embassy of India in Tel Aviv to once again advise all citizens of the country living currently in Israel to stay close to ‘safety shelters’ – reinforced concrete rooms that dot the conflict zones of West Asia.

Amid intense aerial bombardment by both Hamas and the Israel Defence Force, the Embassy of India in Tel Aviv asked the citizens of the country in the West Asian nation to remain vigilant and observe safety protocols as advised by the local authorities. “Please exercise caution, avoid unnecessary movement and stay close to safety shelters,” it stated in an advisory issued for the citizens of India in Israel.

The Embassy of India in Tel Aviv has also got in touch with the Government of Israel for repatriation of the mortal remains of Soumya. V Muraleedharan, Minister of State for External Affairs, spoke to the bereaved family in Kerala and assured all possible assistance from the Government of India. He noted in a tweet that New Delhi had condemned the “attacks and violence in Jerusalem” and urged both sides to exercise restraint.

Santhosh was originally a resident of Keerithodu in the Idukki district of Kerala. She was working as a caregiver to an 80-year-old woman in Ashkelon, a coastal city in southern Israel. The 32-year-old was killed as one of the rockets fired by the militants of Hamas from the Gaza Strip hit the house of the octogenarian woman, who was also injured and hospitalized. Unlike many houses in the locality, the one where they lived did not have a fortified room to protect them from aerial bombardment. The two women could not reach the nearby rocket shelter before being hit, according to the reports received in New Delhi.

Santhosh was on a video-call with her husband in Kerala just before the rocket attack started.

“On behalf of the state of #Israel, I convey heartfelt condolences to the family of Ms. Soumya Santosh (Santhosh), murdered by Hamas indiscriminate terror attack on innocent lives,” Ron Malka, the ambassador of Israel to India, posted on Twitter. “Our hearts are crying with her 9 years old son that lost his mother in this cruel terrorist attack.”

Malka too spoke to the family of Santhosh.

“I just spoke to the family of Ms. Soumya Santosh, the victim of the Hamas terrorist strike. I expressed my sorrow for their unfortunate loss & (and) extended my condolences on behalf of the state of Israel. The whole country is mourning her loss & (and) we are here for them,” he tweeted.

The hostility between Israel and Palestine escalated over the past few weeks. The aerial strikes and counter strikes by Hamas and the Israel Defence Force intensified over night. At least 35 were killed in Gaza Strip and five in Israel.

Published 12 May 2021, 18:47 IST

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