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Raleigh family cuts West Bank visit short amid escalating violence

Posted July 10, 2014

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— A Raleigh couple with family and friends in Jordan, Israel and the West Bank was recently caught in the escalating violence in the region.

Raed Younis, his wife, Katherine, and their two children were visiting his mother and seven siblings in the West Bank last month when a Palestinian teen was killed in what was considered a revenge attack for the murders of three Jewish teens in the region.

"I do enjoy my visits but this time was a little bit different," Younis said Thursday, "because with my children and the situation over there, it was kind of scary."

Younis, who is Palestinian, and his family were visiting friends in Israel when news broke that the three Jewish teens had disappeared from the West Bank, and he said their town became a military zone.

After four days in Israel, they decided it was time to reunite with the relatives in the West Bank, and he said the cab ride back was a challenge.

"My wife and two children are in the back seat of the car. I asked her to hold the two children down in her lap in case people shoot at the car," he said.

Israeli soldiers were going door to door at night, the family said.

"I was getting nervous," said Katherine Younis, noting that soldiers never showed up where the family was staying.

Still, sleeping through the night wasn't easy.

"There was a lot of fighting down the street. There was shooting and gas bombs, and you could smell the gas," she said.

The Younis family cut its trip short by 2½ weeks.

"I was just ready to go home," said Katherine Younis, a Raleigh native. "I just realized this is not the time to be here, and we were growing tired."

Raed Younis said his mother will come to North Carolina for the next visit. In the meantime, he's staying in touch with his relatives while praying for peace in the Mideast.

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