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Your e-mails: Stories from the crisis
YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
(CNN) -- CNN.com asked readers affected by the attacks in the Middle East to share their stories. Here is a selection of the responses, some of which have been edited:
Tuesday, July 25
I just got evacuated, three days ago, from my home country Lebanon, by a Greek warship, to end up in France. I left all my loved ones and I want to return to them. I am filled up with regret and am constantly worrying about them. This country is in need of an immediate ceasefire because an enormous amount of civilians have died. Why destroying the bridges, the roads, practicly everything, killing civilians that had nothing to do with that and now destroying the television antennas that provide us with our freedom of speech? I believe Hezbollah are the ones who started all of this but this is not a way of dealing with this matter, putting in risk all of the Lebanese people.
I am a Lebanese student at the American University of Beirut greatly concerned about the fate of my beloved country. It is sad that a place with so much potential and diversity is being demolished by 2,000 pounds of bombs, shattering the lives and homes of poor civilians, the majority being children, who cannot afford to leave their homes. I consider myself fortunate to have escaped before the violence escalated making it a life-threatening trip to get to the Syrian borders. The Israelis destroy key bridges then shower pamphlets telling the inhabitants of certain areas to fled, however they have no means to get to safety as all the towns and villages are torn apart and the ones that get into buses risk being targeted... I am Lebanese and I do not want my land to be occupied or ruled by Israeli or American or French or Syrian or even a Hawaiian govenrment. I want my people to be ruled by my people. Lebanon has so many internal conflicts of its own but time and time again it seems like we are a battlefield for someone else's battles.
My Mother-in-law got on a ship to Cyprus but they would not take my Father-in-law (her husband) on the ship because he is a resident not a citizen. He is an old man and needs help and someone to take care of him. Now they are separated and we have no contact with my Mother-in-law in Cyprus.
Sunday morning (July 16), I'm in the beginning of a test (pre-med last semester, only four more exams to go...), suddenly we hear big bombing noises, everybody is going down to the shelter, the exam get cancelled (not a good thing, it was an easy one).
Since then, and it is now Saturday, we are prisoners in our own home! Every day, 6-10 alarms, getting down to the shelter, can't finish any mission without a break of running down there with all of my neighbors.
The one time we did get out of our home after almost 24 hours that nothing hit Haifa, we went to see my grandparents, it is 10 minutes away, but there were two alarms until we got there, the order is to stop the vehicle, and find a cover, all we found was a wall of a deserted house. TV reporters wanted to interview us but run away when the first rocket fell about 30 meters (less than 100 foot away), it was one of the most terrifying moments of my life. I was sure my mom was about to have a heart attack she was so pale. But the important thing is that we lived through this!
Today, we went to the shelter nine times, we haven't got out of home for a week except the one time mentioned above, not even on my birthday on July 19... and there is no place to go to in Haifa.
My brother and sister lives in southern cities, were it is quiet and I hope it will stay that way. But, we do not want to escape from this beautiful city of Haifa.
I'm a student and left my home, the city Karmiel, two weeks ago, with all my family. Karmiel and other cities around are bombed by the Hezbollah rockets every day, for the last two weeks. Our city is almost empty right now, everybody escaped. Many were injured and killed by the Hezbollah rockets.
I live in a town in the north of Haifa, and unfortunately it is a war zone these days. We have about 8 - 10 air raid sirens every day. Most of my neighbours (mostly with young children), left their homes and are refugees now in other parts of the country.
Monday, July 24
My 14-year-old daughter was in Lebanon visiting her father. They could get no answers from the embassy there. I finally got her an appointment to depart on Friday 21. After a 15-hour ride on the U.S.S. Nashville (my daughter said the Marines were wonderful), she was put on a bus to a hotel in Cyprus. No one from the embassy escorted the bus. I called the embassy each day asking when she will leave, and who is looking out for her. Finally, yesterday the embassy called her and said she would be leaving today, July 24. When she got back to her room from dinner last night, there was a note under her door saying she would not be leaving until Tuesday 25 July. I am not sure how the embassy is prioritizing this evacuation, but you would think a minor traveling alone would be given some type of special attention. They gave her no money for food -- just covered her hotel. She had to leave all of her clothes behind when her family fled Tyre to hide in a mountain village so she is saving her money for clothes. So she sits there and waits in a state of panic.
Hi, I'm writing from a bunker in the terror-stricken city of Haifa. We are here for the 12th day. The awful strikes reminds me of 62 years ago when I was hidden near the Warsaw ghetto. I'm afraid a holocaust is coming again.
We finally got in touch with my sister-in-law and four kids today (all under age 10.) They made it out of a South Lebanese village called Yaroun on the border with Israel. Their home took a direct hit from an Israeli missile and the three-storey home came crumbling down on top of their heads. All children are injured -- two with more serious injuries. They were lucky to get out alive. They report eating stale bread and drinking well water for the last seven days. The kids left barefooted and are shaken up beyond description. They had been inside their home for the last seven days and it wasn't until they got on the road that they witnessed the extent of destruction in Yaroun -- home after home was leveled. They left the village with a caravan of civilian cars with white sheets tied to the windows. The caravan headed north to Beirut and came under fire numerous times. Unfortunately, there are dozens of Lebanese-American families from Yaroun with similar horror tales to tell. Many still stuck in Yaroun. My aunt and her two kids haven't made it out, my grandfather hasn't made it out.
My family is paying to stay in a hotel five minutes from the embassy in Beirut and they can't get out. Sure the embassy says go down and wait on the beach but my grandson can't wait in the heat because of his medical condition. I saw a story where a woman paid $17,000 to get out. I suppose that's what my family will have to do.
My grandparents have lived in the northern town of Kiryat Shemona for 45 years and, unfortunately, are accustomed to having their lives disrupted as a result of terrorist attacks. Their town was the first to suffer from the rocket attacks initiated by the Hezbollah in the current crisis and like several hundreds of thousands of Israelis, my grandparents have been forced to evacuate. My grandparents first evacuated to my uncle's house, just outside of Haifa, and when the Hezbollah began attacking that region as well they were forced to evacuate once again. The story of my grandparents' evacuation is only one of thousands upon thousands. Israeli civilians -- and not strategic Israeli buildings or military bases -- have been made targets by the Hezbollah and are forced to shuffle all over the country to find safety. Please do not ignore the plight of Israeli civilians during this time, who are also enduring hardships and who sincerely empathize with the Lebanese civilians.
Do you know that there are more than 500,000 Israeli refugees today? Women and children are fleeing their homes, with no place to run. Hundred of thousands of Israelis are living in bunkers day and night, due to the thousand of rockets that are being fired at our country over the last 12 days. These civilians have no food and water, because all of the stores have been forced to close. No need to mention the number of Israeli civilians that have been killed and injured in their homes and work places -- an unprecedented moment in Israeli history, since the Yom Kippur war in 1973.
I'm an Australian living in Tripoli (north of Beirut.) My parents live in one area and my husband and I in another. Not knowing whether or not it is safer to evacuate or to remain here, being seven months pregnant with no guarantee that we will board the ship, it's a difficult situation. Morning and night you can hear an Israeli helicopter and a fighter plane circling over Tripoli. Without warning you can expect to hear a loud explosion and strong vibrations. I can't help thinking of where my family is as I sit at home waiting to hear that they are well. Yesterday several areas were bombed ... No more cable TV and no mobile phone lines, most news channels are off air and the city has run out of petrol and soon enough food supplies.
How are the attacks affecting you? E-mail us to share your story.
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