Former UAE resident, 5 family members killed in Gaza as Israel-Hamas war rages on

Ahmed Algharabli's final social media posts captured horrors of his city being bombed


Nasreen Abdulla

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Published: Tue 31 Oct 2023, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Wed 1 Nov 2023, 12:54 PM

A former UAE resident and his family were among those killed in Israeli attacks on Gaza last week. Ahmed Algharabli was killed along with his wife, brother, sister-in-law and two of his six children when a bomb hit the home they shared. Four of his children were rescued from the rubble and are being cared for.

Ahmed with his son
Ahmed with his son
The remains of Ahmed’s home
The remains of Ahmed’s home

His classmate and friend Ashraf Emad paid tribute to the young man who he described as a close friend. “Ahmed was not just a friend,” he said, speaking to Khaleej Times. “He was more like a brother to me. I still remember, the day before my wedding he insisted that I spend the last night of being a bachelor with him. He took me to the beach with another friend and we spent a lot of time talking to each other. It was one of the sweetest things anyone has done for me.”

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The Sharjah resident first met Ahmed during their time together at the American University of Sharjah (AUS) in 2003. They became firm friends and each other’s confidantes, even after Ahmed left UAE to go home to Gaza.

Ashraf with Ahmed during his wedding
Ashraf with Ahmed during his wedding

A former student of AUS, Ahmed graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering in 2007. The university posted condolences for their graduate last week.

Ashraf said he was still in disbelief about his friend’s death. “I had communicated with him two days before his death through WhatsApp voice message,” he said. “The connections were bad. Despite all the horror going on around him, he kept his sense of humour right till the end.”

In the days leading up to his demise, Ahmed posted regularly about the atrocities that were taking place in Gaza on his social media channels. His last post was on October 12.

On October 7, Hamas launched an attack on Israel, killing over 1,400 people. Retaliatory attacks by Israel has killed over 8,000 people consisting of mostly women and children — an unprecedented number in the years of Israel-Palestine conflict.

Hard worker

Ashraf recalled how Ahmed was a hard worker. “He lived all his childhood in Gaza up to the high school,” said Ashraf. “Despite his basic humble education system in Gaza, he was able to be in the Dean's List for several years. He was also a good football player and really fast with the ball. I remember we used to play next to the campus.”

After graduating in 2007, Ahmed worked for several years in the UAE before returning to Gaza. “He could not see himself as an employee and wanted to go back home,” said Ashraf. “So, he opened his own construction company in Gaza. In a few years he was able to establish his company and built several buildings and towers all around Gaza.”

Ahmed with his son when he visited Dubai in 2020
Ahmed with his son when he visited Dubai in 2020

Ashraf said he will miss Ahmed and the camaraderie he shared with him. “He was someone I could always talk to,” he said. “And he always had a smile on his face. Everyone who met him once would like and remember him. I would like to thank all the staff of American University of Sharjah, especially its dean Dr. Fadi Aloul for their support during this trying time.”


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