Albuquerque woman dodges rockets in Israel

Posted at: 11/22/2012 7:28 PM
Updated at: 11/22/2012 10:27 PM
By: Joe Vigil, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Photo: Christina Durano
Photo: Christina Durano

Albuquerque resident Christina Durano, 24, hasn't quite done the things people traditionally do this time of year. While many New Mexicans spent time shopping for their Thanksgiving dinners, Durano spent her time dodging rockets fired into Israel.

"I've been in a bomb shelter four times," Durano told KOB Eyewitness News 4's Joe Vigil via Skype from Tel Aviv, Israel on Thursday.

Durano is in Tel Aviv getting her masters in Middle Eastern Studies. Durano says she was shocked to hear air raid sirens for the first time last week. Durano was on the beach with a group of friends at the time.

"All of us looked at each other and said can this actually be real? We don't know where the nearest bomb shelter is. What are we going to do," she told us.

Durano says the group followed others to a nearby bomb shelter.

"We all crowded into the shelter which happened to be the woman's bathroom. And we let all the women and children go in first, and kind of tried to hide them further in." she said.

She said people waited, the sirens went off, and then they heard a loud boom in the distance.

"We saw this huge cloud of smoke in the sky and we realized the missile was headed right toward us. But thankfully it had been intercepted by the missile defense system," said Durano.

Durano says she always has a bomb backpack that she carries into bomb shelters. The backpack contains some food, her passport and a change of clothes.

She says when air raid sirens go off people have about 90 seconds to get to a shelter before the rocket hits. Durano admits she panicked during the first couple rocket attacks.

"Just knowing that there is a possibility that the building that I am in could be destroyed within 90 seconds," said Durano.

Durano says an explosion on a city bus Wednesday was even more frightening than the five rocket attacks she's survived. She says people are warned with air raid sirens when rockets come in.

"For bus explosions you have absolutely no warning. It can hit anytime, anywhere anyone. It is intended to kill civilians," she said.

Durano says she feels bad because people are dying and being severely injured on both sides. She says she is thankful for the cease fire and hope is lasts.

Durano has no plans to leave Tel Aviv because of the danger. She plans to be in Israel for a year or two.