NPR’s Aya Batrawy on what she saw and heard in the first month of the 2023 Israel-Hamas war

Aya Batrawy reports during Israel-Hamas war
Aya Batrawy stands in Jerusalem with the Western Wall and Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound behind her during a reporting trip in Israel on 19 Oct 2023.

Note: this interview aired live on November 7, 2023; it was rebroadcasted on January 2, 2024

One month ago today Hamas fighters crossed from the Gaza Strip into Israel killing 1,400 Israelis and taking more than 200 hostages; soon afterward, NPR international correspondent Aya Batrawy was in Israel reporting on those attacks and on Israel’s deadly response. She leads NPR’s Gulf bureau in Dubai and she used to volunteer for WMNF News.

On WMNF’s Tuesday Cafe, we spoke with Batrawy about her reporting and the latest news from Gaza and Israel.

Listen to the full show here:

Watch this interview here:

“Everyone I’ve spoken to who works in Gaza or who lives in Gaza continues to tell me this: Gaza has been through a lot. This is its fifth war or conflict since 2008. So if you’re a 15-year-old child, this is your fifth war or something close to it, and just your entire lifespan.

“The psychological trauma in addition to this cannot be described. And I struggle with words to try to explain and understand as well the trauma to children. I saw one video that I think really, really captures some of the trauma that children in Gaza are facing because they can hear the bombs, they can hear a constant sound of drones humming overhead — Israeli aerial surveillance drones and armed drones.

“Over a million and a half people or something like that — I think that’s the latest figure — have been displaced from their homes. Like I said about 200,000 people’s homes have been destroyed. So people are living, you know — thousands of people — in these small un shelters. Thousands at a time.

“There’s no clean water for a lot of them. There’s not enough food coming in. Israel had put Gaza basically under full siege with just a small trickle of trucks, aid trucks, being able to come in through Egypt. And even then, most of those trucks almost all of them, can only distribute to certain parts of Gaza and the South. They cannot reach hundreds of thousands of people still in the north. People simply cannot evacuate there. They say there’s no safe place to go even across the southern Gaza Strip. There have been bombs there have been attacks, and people have died.”

— Aya Batrawy speaking on WMNF’s Tuesday Cafe

WMNF’s Tuesday Café

Tuesday Café airs weekly on WMNF beginning at 10:06 a.m. ET.

You can listen live on 88.5 FM in Tampa Bay, on or on the WMNF Community Radio app.

You can watch replays on TBAE Network Channels at 8:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Tuesdays on Spectrum 636, Frontier 34 and Or on demand.

You can listen anytime on demand on or by subscribing to the Tuesday Café podcast on your favorite podcast platform. – WMNF’s Tuesday Café with Seán Kinane.

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