Hoping for the best is the only thought on Duaa Abufares' mind.
"My family has been texting me saying have I gotten in contact with my dad yet, because so far as this morning we haven’t had contact with him yet. And there’s no electricity. So, we’re trying to debate whether did something happen, or his phone probably died. We’re scared," said Duaa Abufares, a Palestinian American. "Every human life is precious and I do feel for those who died as well in Israel."
Her father, Fares Abufares, is in Gaza, now under seige by Israeli forces after Hamas’ surprise attack on southern Israel this weekend.
"He was talking about how they’re still continuing bombing while he’s texting us. They’re still bombing until this time," she said.
Duaa Abufares’ parents immigrated to the United States in the early 1990s.
They built a life in Paterson, New Jersey, home to approximately 20,000 Palestinian Americans according to the Paterson mayor’s office.
Abufares says these days have turned into an ordeal for her family.
SCRIPPS NEWS' AXEL TURCIOS: How’s your mom doing?
DUAA ABUFARES: Scared. She’s worried about how’s she’s going to keep taking care of the kids without my dad being here, and at the same time she’s worried about how her family and my family, is something happen with my family over there.
Meanwhile, Basma Bsharat from the Palestinian American Community Center in New Jersey says the community is living in constant fear.
"We’re also dealing with the backlash here. It’s a very scary time for us in our community. Again, because we’re worried about our families over there and we’re also worried about ourselves," said Bsharat.
Bsharat told Scripps News' some in the community feel compelled to hide their identities.
"Young students, minors are saying that they’re afraid to wear anything that shows they’re Palestinian because they’re getting threatened by students — by people outside," said Bsharat.
In the meantime, Abufares fears the worst for her father.
"He’s stuck, he cannot leave at all. Every single exits are blocked off. And the only exit available is into Israel and obviously they blocked off as well," said Abufares.
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