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    Israel Hamas War: Local families of IDF soldiers prepare for next stages

    FOREST HILLS, Queens (WABC) — The Israeli military is preparing for the next stages of war. They promise a swift and ‘very broad attack’ on Gaza City soon.

    The IDF says ‘essential combat equipment has already been dispatched’ to the area surrounding Gaza and that a ‘significant ground operation’ is imminent.

    The Israelis claim to have hundreds of thousands of drafted soldiers at the ready – young people who are faced with making the ultimate sacrifice, and some of them are from New York City.

    On Saturday night, a rabbi told horror stories to the congregation – so many directly impacted by the conflict in Israel.

    David Aronov just found out Friday that his cousins Zhenya Nisenboym, 32, and Ilan Moshy Akov, 29, were both shot to death, he says, as they tried to escape the music festival in Israel when Hamas attacked.

    “We’re scared, we’re scared. As a Jewish community, but we’re also not going to let terrorism win. Not let fear win,” Aronov said.

    Saturday night about 200 congregants prayed at the Bukharian Jewish Community Center in Queens. Police were posted at the front door.

    More than five thousand miles away – their family members in the Israeli military prepared for a ground incursion in Gaza to fight Hamas.

    Richie Zav’s uncle was one of the soldiers.

    “He is a second-line frontman to drive the tanks into Gaza,” said Zav.

    The fight, he says, to defend Israel is retaliation for the 1,300, mostly civilians, who were brutally killed by Hamas during a Jewish holiday.

    “Both communities, Palestinian and Jewish – which both have the right to practice their religions, both have the right to exist, both have the right to prosper, but it’s the terrorist organization we want to stand against,” Zav added.

    Rabbi Asher Vaknin also has family serving in the Israel Defense Forces.

    “We have a faith that God will protect us and protect our family – we feel the right and obligation to do it, and I’m lucky my family is going to fight,” he said.

    Religious leaders say at least two members of the Bukharian community are believed to be held captive by Hamas right now.

    ALSO READ | Upper East Side resident returns to Israel for IDF active duty as war continues


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