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Humans of Gaza: Dr. Enas Al-Hajj, a pregnant doctor killed with firstborn, unborn kids

By Humaira Ahad

On October 29, more than three weeks after Israel launched its genocidal war on the Gaza Strip, Dr. Enas Mahmoud Al-Hajj mourned the death of her friend and colleague Dr. Duaa Awad.

“May God have mercy on my friend and colleague, Duaa Awad, the kind-hearted one. She left a beautiful impact on everyone around her”, the bereaved Al Hajj wrote for her slain friend.

Al-Hajj, however, was unaware that the two of them who waited for their work shifts to end to catch up on everyday discussions would be killed hours apart from each other.

She was killed the same day as Awad by the Israeli regime.

Al-Hajj worked as an emergency physician at the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah, central Gaza. Her husband Dr. Ali Al-Nuweri also worked in the same hospital as an orthopedic surgeon.

The couple who got married in 2019 shared a strong bond of togetherness.

“Years pass and you remain the most beautiful thing in my life and the most precious thing that life has gifted me,” the doting husband wrote on social media for his beloved spouse in happier days.

The couple welcomed their first child, Hassan, in 2020.

“Praise to God for blessing us with a child who is the light of my and beloved wife Inas Yousef’s eyes…I ask god to protect him and bless him,” Al Nuweri wrote on social media on their son’s birth.

Al-Hajj and Al-Nuweri were happy in their small world until it came crashing down.

“I used to go to work every day early morning after kissing my son and my wife, then I would come home in the afternoon, bone tired and exhausted. My wife would welcome me with her mouth-watering lunch,” Al-Nuweri was quoted as saying after his wife was killed.

When the Israeli regime launched its indiscriminate bombardment of the besieged Gaza Strip on October 7, Al-Hajj was 6 months pregnant with her second child.

She was eagerly waiting to know the gender of her unborn baby.

For months, the young doctor had been excitedly preparing for the arrival of the newborn. Their three-and-a-half-year-old son Hassan was also counting the days to welcome his playmate.

Hassan had a striking resemblance with his parents and desired to become a doctor like them.

On October 7, Hassan was supposed to attend the first day of his kindergarten. Excited that their firstborn was going to get enrolled in a play school, the young Palestinian couple bought him new clothes, toys, a backpack and his favorite snacks to carry to school.

Hassan was also excited about the day, to begin the new journey of his life. He slept with his backpack, waking up traumatized by the horrendous sounds of Israeli airstrikes.

The pregnant mother tried in vain for days to calm down her panic-stricken toddler son.

On October 29, Al Hajj’s worst fears came true when the regime warplanes deliberately targeted their family home, killing Al Hajj with her son and other family members.

Al-Nuweri survived the bombardment but got paraplegic for life.

Confined to a hospital bed requiring immediate medical intervention, the young doctor has been grieving for his wife, son, parents and siblings for almost three months.

“Today I wake up while all of that was gone in a blink of an eye, in a treacherous airstrike! No home, no wife, no son, no dad, no mom, no brother. All were murdered, all are martyrs,” he said.

A committed, hardworking medic, Al Hajj had dreams for her future. She wanted to practice family medicine and was preparing for the board certification exam in the same discipline.

The distressed orthopedic surgeon whose world was destroyed by the regime’s airstrike recalled the family’s happy life before the occupying regime launched its fresh aggression on the coastal strip.

“In the evening, we would go downstairs to my mom’s and dad’s flat to exchange endless sweet chit-chats over cups of bitter coffee. Then at night, we would watch our favorite TV series till all fall asleep as a small loving family,” he was quoted as saying.

“Don’t we deserve life?” is a question that Al-Nuweri has been asking the world.

Since October 7, more than 300 healthcare workers have been killed in Gaza, where the death toll now tops 25,500, most of them children and women.

As per the Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP), this figure is more than the total number of health worker deaths recorded across all countries in conflict last year, and in any single year since 2016. 

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