STORY: These Gazan swimmers brave cold waters for good health
Location: Beit Lahiya, Gaza
Despite temperatures dropping to 44°F during the winter
people like Hassan Qarmout refuse to miss their daily swim
(Hassan Qarmout, Swimmer)
"I've been swimming since 2012, I had suffered a stroke, and then I started doing daily exercises on the beach, and I started seeing young men swimming, bit by bit I learned to swim - they taught me how. I haven't quit the sea or swimming even for a single day since 2012. Thank God my body is perfect and I healed from all illnesses, thank God."
Gaza is home to about 2.3 million Palestinians
and is governed by the Islamist militant group Hamas
Citing security concerns, an Israeli-led blockade has put restrictions
on the movement of people and goods for years
(Mohammad al-Madhoun, Former sports minister)
"We suffer from a lot of repression due to the blockade. Releasing this psychological burden in the sea and through swimming, according to doctors and psychologists, is the best way to start your day. It will allow you to feel refreshed promotes good mental health."