Worcester Fire Chief Gerard Dio traveled to the Gaza Strip just last month and says he feels for those living there now as the brutal violence escalates.
Gunshots rang out in the distance as Dio viewed the area in November and spoke with a young mother who described everyday life in the embattled region.
"Around me, you could hear gunshots in the distance," Dio recalled. "There were bomb holes from where the bombs hit. All the bus stops are bomb shelters."
Dio was among 16 fire chiefs from across the country who went on a weeklong trip to Israel that was sponsored by the American Israel Education Foundation.
The chief said it was an educational trip on homeland security issues. "It was an eye-opener for me," Dio said yesterday.
During his trip, Dio saw teenage girls and boys walking down the street carrying M-16s. "You say, whoa, this is a whole different lifestyle," he said.
As of yesterday, the three-day death toll had climbed to 364.
"I feel for the people who live there," Dio said. "They want to live in peace and it just doesn't seem to be happening."
Republished with permission from the Boston Herald