Indian woman killed in Israel was struck by rocket strike during a video call with husband

WION Web Team
Idukki Published: May 12, 2021, 09:03 AM(IST)

File photo of Soumya Santhosh Photograph:( Twitter )

Story highlights

Soumya Santosh, who hailed from Kerala's Idukki district in south India, worked as a caregiver attending to an elderly woman at a house in the southern Israeli coastal city of Ashkelon. Ashkelon, which borders the Gaza Strip, has come under massive fire from the Palestinian militants

An Indian national who was working as a caregiver has been killed in a Hamas rocket attack at Ashkelon in Israel.

According to the family members of 31-year old Soumya Santhosh, the rocket fell on her residence in the city of Ashkelon while she was talking to her husband Santhosh, who is in the southern Indian state of Kerala, over a video call in the evening.

"My brother heard a huge sound during the video call. Suddenly the phone got disconnected. Then we immediately contacted fellow Malayalees working there. Thus we came to know about the incident," Santhosh's brother Saji said.

Soumya Santosh, who hailed from Kerala's Idukki district, worked as a caregiver attending to an elderly woman at a house in the southern Israeli coastal city of Ashkelon.

Ashkelon, which borders the Gaza Strip, has come under massive fire from the Palestinian terrorists.

Soumya was reportedly living in Israel for the past seven years. She has a nine-year-old son whom she had left with her husband in Kerala. Her 80-year-old elderly charge is said to have survived the direct hit on the house and is hospitalised in a serious condition, local media reports said.

Soumya is the daughter of former Kanjikuzhy panchayat member Satish and Savithri. Her last visit to Kerala was in 2017. The deadly rocket attack directly struck the house of the elderly woman.

Channel 12 reported that the rocket shelter was at least a minute's run away from the woman's home and the pair could not manage to reach it in time.

The home lacked a fortified room of its own.

Some media reports said that a technical glitch with an Iron Dome battery (an all-weather air defence system that intercepts and destroys short-range rockets) during the massive rocket barrage towards the Israeli coastal city prevented some rockets from being intercepted and may have been responsible for the casualties and deaths.

Ashkelon's Mayor Tomer Glam said that some 25 per cent of the residents do not have access to a protected area when rockets are fired at the city. It is impossible when normal life becomes a state of emergency within minutes, Glam told Army Radio.

There are houses from the 1960s where there is no basic protection. It is time for treasury officials and decision-makers to understand what is happening here in the city, he stressed.

Israel's ambassador to India Ron Malka on Tuesday took to Twitter to condole the Indian woman's death.

"On behalf of the state of Israel, I convey heartfelt condolences to the family of Soumya Santosh, murdered by Hamas indiscriminate terror attack on innocent lives. Our hearts are crying with her 9-years-old son that lost his mother in this cruel terrorist attack," he said.

"I just spoke to the family of Ms. Soumya Santosh, the victim of the Hamas terrorist strike. I expressed my sorrow for their unfortunate loss & extended my condolences on behalf of the state of Israel. The whole country is mourning her loss & we are here for them."

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Newly-elected MLA and Nationalist Congress Kerala leader Mani C Kappan condemned the incident.

In a Facebook post, Kappan, who is representing Pala seat in the Kerala Assembly, said thousands of Keralites working in Israel were living in fear. He also sought the intervention of the central and state governments.

(With inputs from agencies)

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