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A teenager was hit by a stray bullet a month ago. It is still lodged near her spine.

By 37ci3 Feb23,2024

It took a moment for the bullet to hit 14-year-old Salma Alyazhi in the back. A month later, it’s still there.

“It didn’t change one part of my life, it changed my whole life,” Salma said.

The 14-year-old scholarship student was shot dead on January 25, his father Ehab Alyazji said, adding that a month later, Salman was no closer to getting his diploma. critical surgery as he should even the injury turns his life.

It is not clear who it is fired a bullet It hit Salma. There wasn’t collisions he was nearby at the time, but he heard a shot from the building where his family and many others were Shelter in Khan Yunis South of Gaza. When he heard a second shot, he went to check that no one was injured.

“I felt a lot of pain and heat in my back and I started to feel dizzy,” she said.

When he put his hand behind his back, it came back covered in blood. “I started screaming and passed out,” Salma told the NBC News team in Gaza.

X-ray showing the bullet in Salma Alyazhi's spine.
X-ray showing the bullet in Salma Alyazhi’s spine.Courtesy Ehab Alyazji

Salman has a lively mind. He was on scholarship at the prestigious Horizons Academy in Gaza, where his father said he was a top student. He writes poetry and dreams of studying abroad.

But now, he said, his ambitions are stifled by the anxiety of living with a bullet in his back. He is in pain and struggles to perform tasks of daily living without help.

“I no longer have any ambitions except to get out of this situation,” said Salma, crying.

He spends his time dealing with bullets: this it leaks toxic chemicals into his body that can cause his back to ossify and stiffen. He fears that it might move from the dangerous spot between his spinal cord and liver and, if he’s lucky, paralyze or kill him.

“Imagine a person like him with a bullet in his body – in the spine, near the spinal cord,” said his father.

He wants to find Alyazhi a way to operate eliminate the bullet and the danger it poses, but also “to change the psychological state he was in,” he said, “to remove him from the danger that anything might happen to him at any moment.”

“Where can I take him for treatment?” he said. “There is absolutely no ability,” he said Hospitals in Gazathose who compressed and collapsed under gravity Israeli bombing.

From the moment Salman was shot to the ongoing torturous strain of waiting for surgery, his life has become another harrowing illustration of how violence has spiraled in wartime Gaza.

His father said it took seven hours for the Israel Defense Forces to grant permission on the day he was shot first aid to take him away even while he was writhing in panic and pain, passed out, bleeding from his lungs.

He was taken to a field hospital in Rafah, where an X-ray showed a bullet lodged near his spine.

Doctors at the field hospital told his family that they were unable to remove the bullet.

Salma was stable in Gaza, where emergency medical supplies poured into the hospital even as paralysis or death awaited. After three days, the hospital discharged him.

His only options, he told his family, were to live with the bullet inside or leave Gaza for medical help.

Salma Alyazji with her father Ehab Alyazji.
Salma Alyazji and her father, Ehab Alyazji, during an interview with NBC News at their shelter in Rafah, southern Gaza.NBC News

Now his family is trying to leave the enclave so Salman can get the medical treatment he needs – but the process is proving to be very difficult.

According to Steve Sosebee, founder of the nonprofit HEAL Palestine, Palestinians can try to add their names to the list of evacuees to leave the enclave via the Rafah border crossing, but their travel must be approved by both Israeli and Egyptian authorities. .

“You can submit names or try to get submitted names, but it’s not always clear when they’ll be transferred, or who’s responsible for approving them, if they’re rejected, or how long it takes,” he said. , added that if the Palestinians are approved, their names appear on a nightly list published in Arabic. “It’s a really chaotic situation, there’s no clear, transparent process.”

There are other options, including an Egyptian VIP tour company called Hala, which charges $5,000 or more per person to take evacuees through the Rafah crossing into Egypt. Sosebee said the fees are expensive and the request usually has to be sent through family members of evacuees already in Egypt.

Another, less common option is that countries like the United Arab Emirates or Turkey can use their influence to get patients transferred to hospitals there.

Sosebee says there may be thousands of people like Salma who need treatment, and they can only go abroad. In late January, Khalid Zayed, head of the Egyptian Red Crescent Society in North Sinai, told NBC News that only About 2,100 sick and wounded left Gaza Through Rafah since the start of the war.

Sosebee said it has gotten worse since then. “And it’s quite disturbing because there are people who are dying, there are children who are dying from the treatment that is available to them if they can get across the border.”

“It’s preventable,” he said.

Salma Alyazhi.
Although Salma Alyazhi is dealing with a bullet in her back, she wishes to return to writing poetry.NBC News

Salma and Ehab spoke to the NBC News team from a tarp-covered makeshift room inside the warehouse where the family is sheltering in Rafah. Backpacks and clothes hung from hooks on the cinder block walls, and there were three small mattresses on the floor.

Three times now – from North Gaza to Khan Yunis and now displaced Prosperity — Salma sat down to write a poem about returning home.

“I’m back at it after a long time,” he wrote. “After lighting firebrands, after the sun shines in the darkness. After a longing in our hearts, a hope that disappointed us. After the pain that seeped into our chest, the oppression that lasted with their treachery, courage, injustice, and brutality.”

“Where is the world? Where is humanity?’ the 14-year-old girl asked in her poem.

“You don’t have to be Muslim or Arab to understand this story,” he said. “Only one person.”

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By 37ci3

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