Gazan swimmers brave cold waters for good health

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."