A 31-year-old woman from Kerala was killed in a rocket strike in Israel on Tuesday as the conflict between the country and Palestinian militant group Hamas escalated, PTI reported.
Soumya Santosh, 31, from Kerala’s Idukki district, had been working as a caregiver in Israel since seven years. She was speaking to her husband over a video call when a rocket fell on her house in Ashkelon, situated near Israel’s border with Gaza, according to the news agency.
“My brother heard a huge sound during the video call,” the woman’s brother-in-law told the news agency. “Suddenly the phone got disconnected. Then we immediately contacted fellow Malayalees working there. Thus we came to know about the incident.”
Isreal’s ambassador Ron Malka on Wednesday extended his condolences to the family. “I just spoke to the family of Ms Soumya Santosh, the victim of the Hamas terrorist strike,” he tweeted. “I expressed my sorrow for their unfortunate loss & extended my condolences on behalf of the state of Israel. The whole country is mourning her loss & we are here for them.”
Union minister V Muraleedharan offered his condolences to the woman’s family and assured them of all possible help. “We have condemned these attacks and the violence in Jerusalem, and urged restraint by both sides,” he tweeted.
The woman has a 9-year-old son, according to The Indian Express. She had been planning to return home in two months and had last visited her family two years ago.
Malka made special mention of Santosh’s son. “My heart goes out to her 9-year-old son, Adon, who has lost his mother at such a young age and will have to grow up without her,” the envoy added. “This evil attack reminds me of little Moses, who also lost his parents during the 2008 #Mumbaiattacks. May God give them strength and courage.”
At least 35 have been killed in airstrikes in Gaza and five in Israel, according to Reuters.
The violence that erupted on Monday night followed weeks-long tensions in Jerusalem, during which Israeli police attacked Palestinian protesters near the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
At the heart of the conflict is an Israeli Supreme Court hearing, which was due on May 10 in a long-running legal case about whether several Palestinian families would be evicted from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah, a neighbourhood near Damascus Gate that was given to Israeli settlers.
As the court hearing neared, Palestinians and left-wing Israelis began holding larger demonstrations, saying more evictions could cause a domino effect throughout the overwhelmingly Palestinian neighbourhood.
Israel launched hundreds of airstrikes in Gaza on Wednesday morning, while Palestinian militants fired rockets at Tel Aviv and Beersheba cities, Reuters reported.
Multiple countries have condemned the violence. India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations TS Tirumurti said New Delhi was deeply concerned about clashes and violence in Haram Al Sharif and Temple Mount and the evictions in Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan neighbourhoods. India called on both sides to avoid changing the status-quo on the ground.