EDMOND, Okla. (KFOR) – Two relatives of Magid Assaleh, the owner of Simply Falafel in Edmond, were hurt in the Beirut, Lebanon blast that occurred Tuesday.
At least 150 people were killed, 5,000 injured and an estimated 300,000 lost their homes. Back here in Oklahoma, Assaleh said he is still feeling the aftershocks. Friday, he got a call from his relatives in Beirut, telling him they found his cousin’s son in one of the hospital beds in the city.
“Pray for the Lebanese people and give them all the help you can,” Assaleh said.
Assaleh is almost 7,000 miles away from the devastation left in Lebanon. The massive blast that struck the city left it in shambles. The two relatives hit by the blast were only miles away.
“It flattened out all these properties and buildings and so forth,” Assaleh said. “It was an incredible scare.”
Previously mentioned was his cousin’s son, Joe Bou Saab. Assaleh said he is a firefighter in Beirut who responded to the original fire that later ignited the blast.
“After they just got there, the second explosion came out and a lot of people disappeared,” Assaleh said.
Assaleh has been working in his Edmond restaurant over the past few days. He said he’s been waiting to hear any kind of news on the situation.
“It’s wait and see,” he said. “There’s nothing you can do.”
Just minutes before KFOR sat down for an interview with him, he received some news regarding Saab.
“They found him in one of the hospitals,” he said.
Though, Assaleh said he does not know the extent of his injuries yet.
“At least that he’s alive.”
Another relative, his cousin’s daughter, only lives four miles away from where the blast happened. It shattered windows and destroyed the inside of her home.
“She had just minor glass injuries and she is safe,” Assaleh said.
According to Assaleh, his family goes back about 200 years to a war-torn Syria. He said they are now all over the globe, trying to stay in touch.
“Our family is a very big family, over 250 people,” he said. “This war in Syria separated and made us move away.”
Assaleh added that while the devastation may seem far away to some in Oklahoma, he hopes it can bring us together like never before.
“Human life is very important,” he said. “It doesn’t matter where we are from, we need to respect each other and live together.”
Assaleh said he will keep KFOR updated with any information he receives from his family overseas.
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