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Father keeps vigil

War zone: George Ayyad stands by his son Jeries, of Gaza, in the intensive care unit of St Joseph Hospital in Jerusalem. Since the death of his wife in an Israeli missile attack on their house in Gaza City in late July, Mr Ayyad has been keeping vigil over his son, who is in critical condition.                                                                                                                                  Photo: CNS

War zone: George Ayyad stands by his son Jeries, of Gaza, in the intensive care unit of St Joseph Hospital in Jerusalem. Since the death of his wife in an Israeli missile attack on their house in Gaza City in late July, Mr Ayyad has been keeping vigil over his son, who is in critical condition. Photo: CNS

SINCE the death of his wife in an Israeli missile attack on their house in the Gaza Strip in late July, George Ayyad, 75, has been keeping vigil over his son Jeries, 31.

Jeries Ayyad lay in the intensive care unit of St Joseph Hospital, Jerusalem.

Second and third-degree burns covered 90 per cent of his body.

Both legs were amputated, and he had serious brain trauma.

St Joseph Hospital specialises in head and chest-trauma wounds.

Jeries, who was transferred from Gaza with the help of Caritas Jerusalem in co-operation with Israeli military, was one of 23 Gaza residents being treated at the hospital, run by the Sisters of St Joseph of the Apparition.

Three more patients were expected to arrive later on July 30.

Most of the wounded were under age 15; five were in the intensive care unit.

Hospital general director Jamil Koussa said two of the children, aged 11 and 15, were pronounced brain dead on arrival and were expected to die within a short time.

Two other children had improved remarkably since their arrival, Mr Koussa said on July 30, adding that they began receiving Gaza wounded almost a week earlier.

Since Israel began airstrikes on Gaza on July 8, more than 1400 Palestinians have been killed.

Three civilians in Israel and 56 Israeli soldiers have been killed in the violence.

Israel says its operation in Gaza is designed to defend its population from attacks by Palestinian militants.

Hospital president Sr Gilbert Saliba, 79, said though the hospital also treated the wounded during the first and second intifadas, the first days of receiving the wounded from Gaza were emotionally difficult.

Four of the nuns work as nurses alongside the rest of the medical staff.

Sr Saliba said all patients were treated equally because in each one they saw the face of Jesus.

“There is a moment when we see all the suffering that we ask, ‘Where is God’,” Sr Saliba said.

“But then we look at the cross and see Jesus Christ on that cross, and how he suffered a lot of pain and he is still living all this pain.

“And we know he wants to use our hearts, our eyes and our hands to be merciful to human beings.”

Israel and Hamas had agreed to an unconditional 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza from August 5.

CNS

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