US soldier’s family is rescued during a secret operation in Gaza after his father was killed

The mother (bottom right) of of Specialist Ragi A. Sckak (top left) was rescued after his father (left) was killed in Gaza. (Undated family photo/Facebook)

By Michael Swaney

Details about a secret operation in Gaza are emerging after a US official spoke anonymously with the Associated Press.

The alleged secret operation, coordinated by the U.S., Israel, Egypt, and others, was carried out to rescue the mother of a US Army infantryman and her brother-in-law after his father was shot to death.

The official said the rescue had been kept quiet for security reasons but confirmed Zahra Sckak, 44, made it out of Gaza on New Year’s Eve, along with her brother-in-law, Farid Sukaik – who is an American citizen.

“The United States played solely a liaison and coordinating role between the Sckak family and the governments of Israel and Egypt,” the official said. The operation involved the Israeli military and local Israeli officials who oversee Gaza and the Israeli-occupied West Bank, the U.S. official said.

Sckak’s husband, Abedalla Sckak, died from a gunshot wound during the Israel-Hamas war when the family fled from a building during an airstrike.

One of Sckak’s three American sons is 24-year-old Specialist Ragi A. Sckak, an infantryman in the U.S. military, who is currently serving in South Korea.

One of Ragi’s brothers, Fadi Sckak, pleaded with the national media last month for help saving his mother.

“I just want to see my mother again, that’s the goal,” said Sckak, who is currently a university student in Sunnyvale, Calif. “Being able to hold her again. I can’t bear to lose her.”

He described the phone calls he had with his mother after his father was shot during the days it took him to succumb to his injuries.

He could hear his father in the background of the calls crying out in pain.

Advocates working on the family’s behalf had described Sckak and her brother-in-law as pinned down in a building surrounded by combatants and had little or no food and only water from sewers to drink before the rescue occurred.

“The case of Sckak’s family in Gaza has gotten more attention in Washington, given 24-year-old Ragi Sckak’s Army duty in South Korea,” the Associated Press reported at the end of December.

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