Noor Harazeen has plenty to worry about. Her husband. Her two children. Her elderly parents. And the deadly battle raging all around them.
Harazeen is CGTN's correspondent in Gaza. She covers a conflict that's claimed the lives of more than 15,000 people in just under 60 days. She knows she could be next, but that's one thing she's not worried about. "I understand it's not safe," says Harazeen. "But journalists here have lost that sense of being afraid. And it's my responsibility to stand in front of the camera, and share what's happening - no matter what.”
WATCH: Noor Harazeen reporting from Gaza as Israeli shells explode nearby (October 12)
Harazeen has worked as a journalist in Gaza for nearly a decade, but nothing could have prepared her for the events of October 7. Hamas militants launched surprise attacks inside Israel, killing more than 1,200 people. The country's defense force began a series of airstrikes later that day. "It took me a while to understand what was happening," says Harazeen. "At first, we just heard the bombing. Then, I realized this would be a long-term conflict.”
Israel's military issued a statement on October 13, urging residents to flee northern Gaza before it started a full-scale assault. Harazeen decided to head south with her husband and children. She asked her parents to join them, but they refused. "They said they would not leave. I begged them. I even fought with them, just to come with us," says Harazeen.
But they stayed behind, eventually taking shelter in a hospital. The building offered respite from the bombing, but it soon became clear that it wasn't safe. Harazeen wasn't sure how they would get out, or even if they were still alive. "We had no communication - no networks, no landlines, no internet. I spent days trying to get answers.”
Harazeen says her parents were part of a group of 80 people who managed to flee the hospital. She met them in southern Gaza, embracing her father before breaking into a sprint when she saw her mother. She nestled her head under the elderly woman's shoulder, sobbing as the reality set in - finally, her family was safe. "This was one of the hardest moments - getting my parents here," says Harazeen. "It was hell.”
WATCH: Harazeen sees her parents for the first time since they fled northern Gaza
There have been other moments that have tested Harazeen's strength. Her 13-year-old cousin suffered critical injuries to both legs, his right hand and stomach. She's also watched people rush their loved ones to hospital in the aftermath of a missile strike. Harazeen almost broke down in tears while reporting live from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in central Gaza. Ambulances raced to the entrance, delivering young children - burned, battered and maimed. For many, it was too late. "We witness the injuries of the children day and night. And it reminds me, actually, of my two kids. And it leaves a very deep pain in my heart.”
That pain may linger for some time. Harazeen thinks most Gaza residents will struggle with the effects of trauma when the conflict is over. She says she already has her own psychological scars. "I reached a point where I could see hundreds of bodies and not shed a tear. Then I would go to bed that night, and think about it, and then cry.”
WATCH: CGTN's Noor Harazeen reports from Gaza as children are rushed to hospital (October 14)
The past seven weeks have been some of the most difficult of Harazeen's life. But she says she's never thought of quitting the profession. "Millions of people are hearing what I'm saying about the latest in Gaza. They're hearing the real news on the ground. This is my responsibility. And this is more than a job for me.”