Sohail Biary's family said they're relieved he's free but worries about relatives who remain in Gaza.
SIMI VALLEY, Calif. (KABC) -- A Simi Valley man is among the dozens of Americans who have finally been able to escape Gaza by crossing a border to Egypt, but concerns continue to grow about the threat to civilians as Israeli forces move in on Hamas militants.
Sohail Biary 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.
He became trapped after the deadly surprise attack in Israel by Hamas, followed by the devastating bombing in Gaza by Israeli military forces.
The family initially sheltered in their longtime home in Gaza, but with the danger increasing, they were forced to flee. A border crossing from Gaza to Egypt provided a pathway to safety for hundreds of American families trapped.
The Biden Administration said 74 U.S. citizens were among the foreign passport holders allowed to evacuate, including Biary.
"He decided it was going to be the best to go towards the border, the Rafah border, and that was the instruction given to us by the state department, so him and his sister made it down to their aunt's house in Rafah," said his son Khalid Biary.
Over the last few weeks, Biary, his aging parents and other relatives desperately searched for safety as bombs destroyed buildings, leaving thousands of civilians dead and injured.
Biary, a utility supervisor for the City of Los Angeles, sent sporadic text messages last week, describing the danger to his son, the oldest of his four children.
"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 the most at night," said Khalid.
Also among those evacuated Thursday were Lena Basiso and some of her family members, including her grandson Aden.
"I'm happy but sad at the same time. I have friends here they might die and maybe I won't see them ever again," he said.
Khalid said he's relieved his father is free but worries about relatives who remain in Gaza.
"We see dead people, dead kids, family members being pulled out of rubble piles, and the first thought is, 'Am I going to see family members being pulled out of rubble piles?"