Rocket attack in Israel: ‘Kerala nurse Soumya Santhosh killed minutes before shifting’
Malayali nurse Soumya Santhosh, 32, hailing from Keerithodu near Cheruthoni in the district, was about to shift from the area within minutes when she was killed in a rocket attack at Ashkelon in Israel.
Speaking to TOI from Israel, Soumya’s sister-in-law Sherly Benny said that she was killed during a video call with her husband.
“Rocket attacks were increasing in the region for the last several days and Soumya and the old woman she cared for had decided to shift to the woman’s daughter’s house in Tel Aviv. Just before shifting, Soumya was on a video call with her husband while having her meals. Suddenly, there was a loud sound and she was out of the mobile screen and didn’t respond. My brother frantically called me to check about the situation. That’s when we came to know of the incident,” she said.
“The incident occurred at around 3:30pm (Israel time) and 6pm in India. The media reported that Soumya and her patient were killed in the rocket attack. However, only Soumya was killed, and the old woman’s leg was cut off and is now in hospital,” she added. “I visited the spot and identified Soumya’s body, which was shifted to a hospital in Tel Aviv. I found the half-eaten meals that she was having,” Benny said. “Soumya reached here eight years ago. I too work as a caregiver in Ashdod, around 20 minute drive from Ashkelon. Over 600 Malayalis are working in the region,” she added.
Rocket attacks are common in Israel and most of them are destroyed by the forces in the air itself, but this one accidentally fell into the apartment, she said.
Family in shock
Meanwhile, Santhosh, Soumya’s husband, said that she had decided to return from Israel and settle here. “Soumya had gone to Israel to pay off the family’s debts. She had come to Keerithodu two years ago. She planned to come last year but it was postponed due to Covid-19 pandemic. It was a shocker since she died while on a video call with me,” he said. Soumya is survived by Santhosh and their child Adon at Keerithodu.
CM assures help
The chief minister said that the state government is taking all the possible steps to bring back Soumya’s body. Principal secretary (Norka) K Ellangovan has already contacted Indian ambassador to Israel Sanjeev Singhla, who has informed that the embassy has already contacted the local administration. He added that the government has also asked to take necessary steps to provide deserving financial compensation for her family.
Idukki MP Dean Kuriakose said, “I have sent a letter to foreign affairs ministry to speed up the process to bring the body to Kerala. The officials have assured that they will take steps to bring the body to her native place at the earliest.”