Iris Twito, the mother of two sons injured by Qassam rockets in the city of Sderot, decided to grant an exclusive interview with Sderot Media Center, following the Gaza aid flotilla fiasco. “The entire world hates us,” said Iris, “but they don’t know what we’ve been through.”
The Twito family is a living testament for why there is a naval blockade on Gaza. “It’s not just Sderot that is under threat today, but the whole country,” said Iris. “It is vital that we stop these flotilla boats because we cannot allow Hamas to terrorize our Israeli children.”
Sitting on her patio in Ashdod, with a cigarette in hand, Iris recalls the most horrifying experience a mother can go through. Three years ago, Iris’s sons Osher and Rami, then eight and 19 respectively, were walking to an ATM in Sderot, when the rocket alarm went off. As the two brothers frantically attempted to locate a shelter in the middle of one of Sderot’s main streets, the Qassam rocket struck meters away from the two.
The exploded shrapnel sliced through the boys’ legs. Residents poured out to the street to help, but another rocket alert went off, forcing everyone to flee to shelter again. Moments later, the ambulances arrived to transport the boys to the closest hospital, Ashkelon’s Barzilai Hospital, located 20 minutes away from Sderot.
Amidst the flashing cameras at what was one of Sderot’s goriest scenes resulting from a rocket attack, Iris collapsed from the shock of seeing of her two sons lying next to each other, surrounded by a pool of their own blood. The entire city of 19,000 were subsequently shocked by the developments to follow.
The rocket attack left Osher in a coma for two weeks. The young boy had to go through intensive surgeries; his left leg had to be amputated, and doctors had to operate on a hole in his chest and his injured lungs. The older brother Rami’s legs were also badly damaged and operated on.
After a year in the hospital, Osher was released in a bright red wheelchair. His right leg was still badly damaged, but a new artificial limb was fitted on his left.
“Osher goes to intensive therapy every week to this day to help adjust to walking again,” said Iris. Osher, with big brown eyes and a freckled face, walks over to sit by his mother, slowly limping and murmurs hello.
Iris and her husband decided that it would be best to move the family from the heart of Hamas’s target city, Sderot, to Ashdod, Israel’s fifth largest city that is located 40 kilometers (24 miles) away from the Gaza Strip and was not under missile threat at that time.
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