Local family barely escapes war-torn Gaza while visiting relatives

HOUSTON - No matter which side of the conflict, the reality of war is terrifying for those who experience it. A Houston family is back home after they were evacuated from the Gaza Strip while visiting family.

"I've never been through anything like that. It's so eye opening. It's really life-changing," said Diana Mushtaha.

The 17-year-old Houstonian and her family are back home narrowly escaped the war-torn area.

"Everything escalated very quickly. Every day we would hear the bombings get a little bit closer and a little bit closer and a little bit closer," Mushtaha said.

Diana says she and her family had traveled to the Gaza Strip before to visit family there, but this time it was different. They found themselves trapped for seven days while the fighting between Hamas and Israel turned deadly.

"I would tell them to keep yourself away from the windows because shattered glass would injure anyone," her father, Dr. Akram Mushtaha, said.

Mushtaha says his family was forced to stay up all night, fearing an airstrike.

"I fall asleep and an hour later, at 11:30, I wake up to a bomb two houses away from ours," Diana said.

Diana even made an audio recording of some of the attacks.

Along with about 150 other Americans, the Mushtaha family was eventually able to escape to Jordan unharmed and begin their journey home. But they say they feel for the family they left behind.

"And that's the fear they live with. They go to sleep and they don't know if they're going to wake up in the morning. Imagine living with that 24/7," Diana said.

Mushtaha says he hasn't been able to sleep much more since he got back to the states. He says he's constantly checking TV news and the internet for information about the conflict.

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