Student whose family was killed recounts unfolding horror of the Gaza conflict

Hassan Alhallaq

Hassan Alhallaq

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Rose Hill, Iffley and Littlemore. Please call me on (01865) 425422

AN appeal has been launched to help an Oxford Brookes graduate who lost his family in an attack in the Gaza strip to return to the city to finish his studies.

Eight members of Hassan Alhallaq’s family, including his heavily pregnant wife Samar and two young sons, Qinan, six, and Saji, four, were killed when Israeli forces bombed his sister’s flat in Gaza on July 20.

In 2012, Mr Alhallaq won a scholarship at Oxford Brookes University designed to support one student from Gaza each year. He achieved a Masters before returning to Gaza to work for the Bank of Palestine.

After the attack, which left him with a fractured right thigh, the university has launched an appeal to fly him home and allow him to do a PhD.

Speaking to the Oxford Mail from his hospital bed in East Jerusalem, Mr Alhallaq said: “It was my dream to further my education in the UK and I loved my time in Oxford. I was amazed at how friendly everyone was, how they would always smile at you and how everyone respects the rule of law.

“I am so glad my sons were able to come and see that for a few months. It makes me feel I did something for them before they passed away.”

Oxford Mail:

Scenes of emotion at the funerals.

Mr Alhallaq spoke for the first time about the lethal attack and said it was impossible to escape the threat of death in Gaza.

He said: “The bombing and rocket attacks can be heard all over Gaza City, everyone who lives there is scared.

“Most people who live there have tried to get to the lower floors of buildings because if they stay on higher floors there is a much bigger chance they will die if the building is hit.

“Nobody is confident there will be a solution to this crisis.”

Mr Alhallaq and his family fled their home in North Gaza on the first day of the fighting because the area had been heavily bombed in the last two outbreaks of violence.

Oxford Mail:

Qinan and Saji's mother Samar.

He said: “We stayed there for one week and then shelling started to come closer to there as well so we decided we had to make another move.

“The Israelis told us we would be safer if we went into the centre of the city so we moved to my sister’s flat in the part of the city known as Al-Rimal.

“I stayed there with my sister for about three nights and then the rest of my family joined us.

“We finally felt safe but on July 20 we were preparing our Ramadan breakfast at about 7pm when the flat was attacked.

“I was sitting on the sofa beside my father and my brother when it happened. The flat was filled with smoke and I was suddenly aware of a very severe pain in my right leg. When I looked into the centre of the flat I knew my wife and children were dead.

“My brother had to carry me from the rubble and take me to hospital because I couldn’t move. If he hadn’t helped me I would have died there.”

Oxford Mail:

Sons Qinan and Saji.

Mr Alhallaq also lost his mother Suad, his sister Hala and her husband Mohammed and daughter Hani.

A PhD at Brookes costs about £39,000 over three years plus living costs and plane tickets back to the UK.

To donate send a cheque to Oxford Brookes University, with Hassan written on the reverse, to: DARO, Oxford Brookes University, OX3 0BP.

  • Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS or SPORT or NEWS AND SPORT, depending on which services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone’s contacts as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.

Send your Letter to the Editor: What do you think? We welcome letters from our readers on a wide variety of subjects and you can send us a letter for publication here

11:20am Monday 28th July 2014

What do you think? We welcome letters from our readers on a wide variety of subjects and you can send us a letter through the blue headline above.

Our top stories

Update: Bullfinch: More than 350 youngsters believed to have been abused as campaigner calls for action not apologies

Oxford Mail: Marilyn Hawes

7:46am Monday 2nd March 2015

MORE than 350 youngsters in Oxfordshire have been identified as victims of grooming gangs, the Oxford Mail understands.

Discovery: Remains of a woman and a coin dating from the 1600s are unearthed

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Monday 2nd March 2015

THE SKELETON of a woman thought to be nearly 400 years old has been unearthed at an Oxford college.

Parents across Oxfordshire discover fate of child's secondary school place

Oxford Mail: New Oxfordshire county council logo

8:44am Monday 2nd March 2015

PUPILS across the county will find out today whether they have got their first-choice of school as Oxfordshire County Council issues places for secondary schools today.

Grannies put on a unique trolley dance

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Monday 2nd March 2015

TWO dancing grannies took over the streets of Oxford as the city’s main annual dance festival got into full swing.

Minister announces consultation on new rights for disabled people after death of Connor Sparrowhawk

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Monday 2nd March 2015

PLANS for new legislation following the death of a Headington boy will be announced by the Minister for Health this week.

New bridge over Thames will provide off-road cycle link after Government puts up cash

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Monday 2nd March 2015

A £3m cash boost will make a proposed cycling link between East Oxford and the city centre using a new bridge over the Thames a reality.

Comments

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree