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When Yara met Fadi: Gazans help couple pick up pieces after Israeli strike

"I will wait for you even if it takes 60 years," a young man from Gaza promised his Syrian fiancee before an Israeli airstrike delayed their long-awaited marriage.

“We thought our love was hopeless, but we continued nonetheless,” Fadi al-Ghazali told Al-Monitor, standing in his heavily damaged apartment in the Sheikh Radwan district of Gaza City. As he and his mother went about clearing the rubble in their apartment from the Nov. 12 Israeli airstrike, on the wall hung a wedding gown, an object that has dominated social media as the symbol of the touching love story of Fadi and Yara, a young woman from Syria.

Fadi had met Yara al-Zoubi on Facebook five years ago, just like many other youngsters of their generation. What set their relationship apart from the millions of other keyboard romances, however, was that they had very little hope of ever meeting in person. One was living under an Israeli blockade that made traveling nearly impossible, and the other spent her life moving from city to city to escape the fighting in Syria's civil war. Yara is originally from Khan Sheikhoun, the city in northwestern Syrian that made headlines in April 2017 as the site of a poison gas attack that killed at least 86 people. 

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