Simi Valley family worries for father trapped in Gaza amid Israeli bombing

Amy Powell Image
Tuesday, October 31, 2023
Simi Valley family worries for father trapped in Gaza
A Southern California father of four is trapped in Gaza after he went to visit his parents and other relatives for the first time in 15 years. His family in Simi Valley say they feel helpless as they hope for his safe return.

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. (KABC) -- The family of a Simi Valley man says their loved one went to visit his parents a month ago in Gaza City and is now trapped.

It's been a roller coaster of emotions for the family of Sohail Biary. His son told Eyewitness News his father has been trapped in Gaza for weeks.

As Israeli forces increase their bombardment, communications in the Gaza Strip have been cut off.

Sohail traveled from Southern California to Gaza City at the end of September. The 53-year-old visited his parents and other relatives for the first time in 15 years.

Sohail was supposed to return home at the beginning of October. But he hasn't been able to get out since the deadly surprise attack in Israel by Hamas, followed by the devastating bombing in Gaza by Israeli military forces.

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The family initially sheltered in their longtime home in Gaza, but with the danger increasing, they were forced to flee.

Sohail described the terrifying situation in text messages. His son, Khalid Biary, said everything around the neighborhood had come under bombardment.

"He describes it as dying a thousand times a day," Khalid said. "He's lost his hearing. He told me he's lost his hearing at this point, just constant ringing in his ears, and the bombing happens most at night."

Following instructions from the U.S. State Department, Sohail, his mother and his sister made their way to a relative's home in a town near the Egyptian border.

He made three trips to the border hoping to cross into Egypt but was turned back.

The 23-year-old Khalid is the oldest of Sohail's four children. His youngest is a 1-year-old.

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The family is fearful and frustrated now that it has become impossible to communicate with anyone in Gaza.

Khalid said he received a text from his father Friday morning that just said "hello."

"That was before the blackout was announced," Khalid said. "Since then I haven't heard back."

Khalid said the family feels helpless. All they can do is hope for his safe return.