An En Camino Media Alert
January 1, 2004
In mid-October of this year, Canadian resident and citizen Jamal Akkal traveled to the Gaza Strip, Palestine, where he had grown up. Akkal, 23 years old and until recently a student at the University of Windsor, was going to meet up with his fiancée in the community of Nusseirat, where he himself had been born. The trip was only supposed to last a couple of weeks.
Akkal entered the Gaza Strip from Egypt by the border crossing at Rafah, a refugee camp that houses thousands of Palestinians. Just days before his arrival, the Israeli military had made one of its periodic incursions into Rafah - described promptly by Amnesty International as "a war crime" - destroying 170 houses that had sheltered a total of more than 2000 people, leaving 53 Palestinians wounded, and killing 8, including 3 children. Traveling northward, Akkal soon reached his fiancée's home in Nusseirat. Early into his visit there, an Israeli assassination attempt missed its targets in that community, wounding 49 bystanders (including 11 children) and killing 8 (including a child and an on-duty doctor). So life progressed in occupied Gaza. And as the month of October came to a close, Akkal began his planned trip back to Windsor.