FEARS are growing for two former York students living in Gaza as the bloody conflict between Israel and Hamas militants continues.
Fadi and Heba Hania, who lived in Heworth for 18 months, are now 'terrified' in their home in Gaza, said John Bibby, a member of the York branch of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
"Last week, an Israeli bomb dropped just 50 metres away from their house," he said. "Since then I have not heard from them."
He said the Hanias, whose youngest of two sons was born at York Hospital during their time in the city, lived in Rafah in southern Gaza.
Fadi, who studied computer science at the University of York, was not involved in the firing of rockets into Israel, he said.
He revealed that another former York student, Alaa Murad, who studied at York St John University last year, was also in Gaza.
He said Alaa had written that it was under 'barbaric' sea, land and air attack, with more than 86 people killed, most of them innocent children and women, and more than 600 people injured.
Mr Bibby said that the 'Gaza Ark,' a social enterprise supported by many people from York, had alsp been targeted and destroyed in recent Israeli air-raids, wasting a lot of aid money from Britain and elsewhere.
He said the York branch of the campaign was now planning a demonstration in York city centre on Saturday to express concern at the attacks on Gaza.
Protesters will assemble at noon by the Constantine Statue at York Minster, and march on foot streets through the city at 12.20pm, returning to the starting point at 1pm for a rally and speeches.
Israel launched the offensive on July 8, saying it was in response to weeks of heavy rocket fire out of Hamas-ruled Gaza. Israel has said the goal of the military campaign is to restore quiet to its south, which has absorbed hundreds of rocket strikes, and that any ceasefire would have to include guarantees of an extended period of calm.
Hamas has said it will not accept "calm for calm" and has demanded an easing of an Israeli-Egyptian blockade that has ground Gaza's economy to a standstill.
The Health Ministry in Gaza has said that 185 people, including dozens of civilians, have been killed, and more than 1,000 wounded.