ALAPPUZHA: "The rockets launched by Hamas fly above our heads. We are safe in the bunker constructed in my home. When rockets are fired from faraway places, we get alerts on the mobile phones and, at the same time, the local alarm starts ringing," said Sajeesh Lawrence, a native of Nedumkandam in Idukki, who is working as a caregiver in war-torn Tel Aviv.
"We immediately move into the bunker. Such bunkers are available in public places like parks, shopping areas, playgrounds and in big buildings. The Israeli government has also introduced an app to monitor the movement of Hamas from the borders and alert people, which is a relief to the millions who are staying in the city of Tel Aviv," he added.
Sajeesh, son of Lawrence Padickal who had been in Tel Aviv for the past nine years working as a caregiver, told The New Indian Express over the phone that the death of Malayali caregiver Soumya Santhosh is a rare incident, because the country is well equipped to intercept rockets and thwart other kinds of attack from Gaza and other border areas.
"More than 1,700 rockets had been launched by Hamas in the past four days and a majority of them were destroyed by the Israeli defence system. However, very few were missed and these hit houses and other human intervention areas of the country," 37-year-old Sajeesh said.
"Soumya's death was also because of such an attack. Hamas has been launching rockets for the past many years and, in 2014, it mounted a strong attack and Israel retaliated. In the years after, such attacks had been very few and the recent relaxation of restrictions in the entry into Al Aqsa mosque had led to the massive attack by Hamas and Israel's retaliation," he added.
His wife Asha and son Alon are in the Maldives. "Buildings are constructed in the country with features to withstand such attacks. A room of each house is constructed as a bunker. The wall of that room will be constructed in double-layered concrete and iron windows," Sajeesh said.
"Oxygen cylinders, dry fruits, medicines and other essentials are always available in the bunker. When a rocket is fired from the launchpad of Hamas in Gaza, the defence system automatically detects its direction and distance it will travel before hitting the target. An alert is sent to the mobile phones in the area and the local alarm set by the government administration goes off," he said.
"After hearing it, people move into the bunkers. When Hamas launches rockets, the Iron Dome aerial defence system of Israel destroys it mid-air most of the time. Very few are missed and these hit civilian areas," he added..
"Normally, the Israeli government does not retaliate immediately. When it becomes a serious problem, they issue a warning to the people in the border areas of Gaza and start retaliating. Such a retaliation is taking place," Sajeesh said.
Sajeesh's father said, "We are concerned about the developments in Israel. Sajeesh keeps saying that the people are safe there, but we are in fear."