Apps Connect Local Israelis, Palestinians With Gaza News

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Israeli and Palestinian Americans in San Diego are anxious for any information on the conflict in Gaza, so they have turned to unique apps to check on their family back home.

    An app called Red Alert sends users real-time notifications every time sirens goes off, warning of rocket fire in Israel.

     Israeli-American Nicole Patolai’s hands were shaking after hearing the same sirens in Israel.

    “It’s hard to hear that and think about what that means,” said Patolai. ”Every time that goes off, my family is running to a shelter, so I can silence my phone, but they don't have an app they can silence. That's a reality for them,”

    The Red Alert app sends users on everything from rocket fire to reports of injuries and casualties.

    Lacking a similar system, Palestinian-Americans say their family back home rely on a free international text messaging app called WhatsApp--where they can get information over WiFi when phones or power in the country goes down.

    “My cousin's husband was beaten by vigilantes, so of course I have to ask her and find out what's going on,” said Palestinian-American Lenna Odeh. "And I get this information through Facebook and WhatsApp."

    Odeh and Patolai constantly check their phones, both scrambling for information.

    “To see people die, no matter what side they're on, is tragic,” said Patolai.

    “Just to make sure they're OK because a lot of times we don't know who's hit, who's not hit,” said Odeh. “It's scary, it's nerve racking."

    Both Red Alert and WhatsApp are free for iPhones and Androids.