Ibrahim Ashraf Abd al-Nabi is a 43-year-old father of 4 children from Gaza. He is also the head of the Civil Defense in Jabaliya, in the northern Gaza Strip.
Due to the nature of their work, civil defense workers are considered heroes everywhere. This is especially true in Gaza, where repeated Israeli military attacks and an ongoing siege make emergency situations particularly dangerous for everyone involved.
“In times of war, our primary task is to retrieve the wounded from under the rubble and evacuate them to a safe place,” Ibrahim told The Palestine Chronicle.
“Sadly, in many cases, we must also retrieve bodies,” he added.
Ibrahim told the Chronicle that one of the most difficult situations took place during the latest Israeli war in August, when he received an alert that the house of the Abu Jasser family had been targeted.
“We immediately went to the scene. The building had been hit and was turned into rubble. However, at that point the rubble itself was collapsing because of the number of people standing on top, trying to rescue those trapped underneath,” Ibrahim said.
“There was a young man standing next to me. In a second, he fell inside. I tried to raise his head, using my bare hands, to keep him breathing. But he was bleeding profusely and there was nothing I could do for him. He took his last breath while I was still holding him.”
“It was the first time somebody died in my arms,” Ibrahim said. “We moved him on a stretcher and to the hospital, where we prayed for him.”