British family hid in bunker with newborn for nine hours as Hamas burned their home

Tuesday, 10th October 2023

A British family say they survived "by the grace of God" after they were forced to hide inside a tiny smoke-filled bomb shelter as Hamas militants set fire to their home.

Speaking to Piers Morgan, Deborah Mintz originally from Romford, Essex told how her daughter Aimee, her son-in-law Uriel, both UK-Israeli citizens, and her grandson Kai hid in terror as Hamas fighters tore their village apart.

The family were asleep in their Nirwin home near the Gaza strip with 10-day-old Kai when they were awoken to a red-siren alert signalling the start of a surprise assault by the Hamas militant group at 6am on Saturday.

The family heard rockets and gunfire as the fighters began ransacking their town before they hid inside a small room inside their house.

"After about an hour. We started we heard gunfire outside. And we realised that we were under attack" Ms Mintz said.

The family had access to security cameras inside their house and watched as Hamas gunman entered their home.

"My daughter screamed at me, Mum, Mum, the terrorists are in the house."

Ms Mintz described their terror as the militant fighters tried to get inside the safe room as Aimee and Uriel used all their strength to hold the door closed in an attempt to shield their son and Ms Mintz.

"They were shooting at the door. They set fire to the house. They switched off the electricity so we lost camera vision. And the smoke started coming under the steel door into the little very small room that we were in" Ms Mintz said.

Aimee and Uriel's home after Hamas militants burned their property / Credit: Russell Langer

"We knew we were not going to survive. But from the grace of God, I don't know how we did."

Mum to 10 day old baby Kai, Aimee added,

"I guess you find the strength to just protect your family, protect yourself. I don't know how Kai, a ten day old baby survived. He was coughing up to blacks spit and soot"

Ms Mintz said gunmen surrounded the home for six hours and any time the militants left the vicinity, they would use the opportunity to try and access fresh air.

"The room was completely filled with thick black smoke. We'd open the window, we would put the baby on the windowsill and would get some fresh air."

Aimee, Uriel and baby Kai receiving medical treatment after harrowing ordeal / Credit: Russell Langer

Finally, after nine gruelling hours, the family were freed when Israeli Defence Forces arrived and helped them to a nearby bomb shelter before the family were taken to hospital.

However, Hamas militants had killed Ms Mintz's dog Mickey and torched their car.

"I think I pretty much gave up after that" Ms Mintz said.

Kai's dad, Uriel who grew up in Nirwin near the Gaza Strip since the age of 10 said he would hear rockets and sirens and running to a bomb shelter from time to time was not unusual but said this was nothing he'd ever witnessed.

"This is on a whole other scale. I can believe that we were caught in this situation."

Ms Mintz was released from hospital the night of the attack and the family were reunited on Monday after Aimee, Uriel and Kai were kept in hospital a little longer for observation.

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