Body of Kerala Woman Killed in Rocket Strike to be brought home soon

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The Israeli embassy is trying to send home the body of Soumya Santhosh, the Kerala nurse who died in a rocket strike soon, say her relatives. 

Kerala: The body of Kerala’s Soumya Santhosh, who was killed in a rocket strike in Israel is likely to reach her home in Idukki district by May 18, her relatives said. The delay is attributed to the unstable law and order situation in Israel.

Soumya was killed on May 11 in the Israeli city of Ashkelon, where she was employed as a caregiver. 

Saji, her brother-in-law said, “We are told that her body will be brought today evening but we are not sure. All the airports are closed in Israel now because of the violence. The processing has been done but they have told us that there is a 50 percent chance of bringing her body back today.’’

In case the body does not come today, Soumya’s relatives said that a chartered plane to Israel on Monday would carry the body to India the next day.

“Procedures have been initiated at the government level to bring back her mortal remains as soon as possible,” Idukki Member of Parliament Dean Kuriakose said after visiting Soumya’s house in Keerithodu. “If the body is not brought today, it will be brought on Tuesday. The Israeli embassy has been extremely helpful.”

Soumya, a native of Kerala’s Idukki district, had been employed as a housemaid in Israel for the past seven years. When the attack in Israel was taking place,, she was on a video call with her husband in Kerala, said Saji. In the video call, she had told her husband that the son of the woman she was taking care of had informed her that they would soon be shifting to another place for safety.

As she was talking to her husband, he heard a noise and the phone was disconnected, said Saji. The family then tried to contact other Malayalees working with her. These co-workers have been helping to bring her body back, Saji said.

 Soumya was working in Israel for the last seven years, Saji said. In 2019, she had returned home for her sister’s wedding. She was supposed to return to Kerala after six months. However, that was not to be. 

Ever since then, Twitter is flooded with messages of condolences and help to bring Soumya’s last remains to her home at the earliest possible. 

Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan said in a tweet that the mortal remains of Kerala’s Soumya Santhosh, who was killed in a rocket strike by a Palestinian Islamist group in the Israeli city of Ashkelon, where she was employed as a caregiver, would be brought to her house at the earliest.

Israel’s ambassador to India Ron Malka also tweeted that he had talked to the family of Soumya Santhosh of Idukki, who was killed in a rocket attack on Wednesday.

“Israel is mourning her loss and we are here for them,” said the ambassador in the tweet.

Pinarayi Vijayan, Kerala’s chief minister, tweeted on Wednesday that the body of Soumya Santhosh, 32-year-old, will be brought to the state soon. He said  that the state government is in contact with the Israeli embassy in Delhi as well as the External Affairs Ministry.

S Jaishankar, the External Affairs Minister, joined V Muraleedharan and expressed condolences to Soumya’s family and tweeted, “I join V Muraleedharan in expressing my deepest condolences to the family.”

The conflict between Israel and Palestine has taken a turn for the worse in recent weeks. Overnight, Hamas and the Israel Defense Force escalated their aerial attacks and counter-attacks. At least 35 people have been killed in Gaza, with five more killed in Israel.