Three days in hell: Gaza takes stock after Israeli offensive
Residents of the Gaza Strip spent three days and nights under bombardment by Israeli forces between Tuesday and Thursday, after the Israeli army assassinated Islamic Jihad commander Bahaa Abu al-Atta on Tuesday, prompting the Palestinian resistance group to launch a barrage of rockets at Israel.
For three days, Islamic Jihad and the Israeli army exchanged fire, with the Israeli army killing at least 34 Palestinians in Gaza, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health.
These days put Gaza residents under intense pressure, stoking fears that they might be reliving the devastation of the month-long 2014 war, whose consequences are still visible across the besieged Palestinian enclave.
The government information office in Gaza reported that 48 housing units were completely or partially damaged by Israeli air strikes over the span of those three days. (MEE/Mohammed al-Hajjar)
Palestinians carry the bodies of Raafat, Amir and Islam Ayyad, who were killed in an air strike on Wednesday in front of their home eastern Gaza. At the funeral, a neighbour told Middle East Eye that neither Raafat, 54, nor his sons Islam, 25 and eight-year-old Amir were affiliated with any armed groups. (MEE/Mohammed al-Hajjar)
Late on Wednesday night, an air strike in Deir al-Balah refugee camp also killed eight members of the Sawarka family in their sleep, six of them children. On Thursday, the family members were buried, their bodies wrapped in Islamic Jihad and Fatah flags. (MEE/Mohammed al-Hajjar)
A large crater lies where, less than 24 hours earlier, stood two homes where members of the Sawarka family were killed by an air strike. In addition to the eight people killed in the Israeli strike, 11 children were injured. (MEE/Mohammed al-Hajjar)
A child plays in front of the rubble of a house destroyed by the Israeli army. In three days, Israeli warplanes killed eight children under the age of 18 in different areas across the Gaza Strip. (MEE/Mohammed al-Hajjar)
Children collect bread from the rubble of the Abu Amra family home in the southern Gaza Strip.
“My sons and I have been living in this house for years. Now I am standing on the rubble of destruction,” Hamouda Abu Amra told MEE. “We have no more shelter and we are more than 30 people in this house. Our dreams and future here have been destroyed.”.
“We fled the house before it was bombed without knowing where to go,” the young son Ahmad said. “When we returned, we did not find the house." (MEE/Mohammed al-Hajjar)
With Islamic Jihad and Israel agreeing to a ceasefire mediated by Egypt and the United Nations on Thursday, calm has returned to the streets of Gaza. But Palestinians are now dealing with the aftermath of the violence.
“We have lived a terrible nightmare these days. We could not go out of the house for fear of our lives. The occupation aircraft targeted civilians everywhere,” Abu Jaber, a Gaza resident, told MEE. “This morning life returned to normal, with heartfelt grief for the martyrs of these past days.” (MEE/Mohammed al-Hajjar)
This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.