GAZA: Abu Sharif Jendeya, an old man from Sheja’eya neighbourhood in eastern Gaza city, collapsed right after he saw paramedics and rescue workers picking up five corps of his oldest son and four grandchildren from under the rubble of his destroyed house.
Jendeya, in his mid-60s, was unable to talk and fell down on the ground after he saw one of his grandchildren’s bodies. His house and dozens of houses in the neighbourhood were destroyed when the Israeli army expanded its offensive on the Gaza Strip to a ground operation on July 11.
After a while, the old man woke up and murmuring “May Allah (God) take them to paradise. I don’t know what our fault was? What was the fault of innocent children killed in such a horrible way,” adding “If I knew that this would happen, I would have preferred to die.”
Paramedics and rescue workers had on Saturday a 12-hour humanitarian ceasefire, proposed by the United Nations to allow them to pull out corps and look for survivals under the debris of the houses that were destroyed during the ground operation on eastern Gaza.
However, it’s difficult for them to fulfil their mission due to the lack of medical equipment, according to Ashraf al-Qedra, spokesman of the health ministry in Gaza. “More than 130 corps were pulled out during Saturday,” al-Qedra said.
Each time paramedics pulled out a corpse from under the rubble in Sheja’eya, which was under a massive ground attack for several days, the crowds were screaming “Allaho Akbar (God is great)”.
It was so difficult for Mohamed Sleem, a resident who lived in the neighbourhood, to know where his house was after so many houses were completely destroyed in the same area. Dozens of families were very busy during the 12 hours of the cease-fire trying to find something remained that they can use.
“When I first arrived at my neighbourhood Sheja’eya, I thought that a huge earthquake struck the whole area, I didn’t know if it was my street or neighbourhood. I didn’t know where my house was,” said Suleiman Habib, adding that everything was destroyed including roads, trees and infrastructures.
The residents of a large part of the neighbourhood had evacuated their houses and lived in shelters provided by the UN or stayed in hospitals, churches and public gardens and squares. The UN said that there are more than 160,000 displaced people in the Gaza Strip.
During the 12-hour ceasefire, the sounds of bombs of air strikes and tank shells stopped, but buzz of drones was still clearly heard as the drones hovered over the neighbourhood. While people were busy checking the dead and their destroyed houses, traffic was active and markets were overcrowded.
Municipal workers went to several areas to fix lines of electricity and telephones as well as other infrastructures, such as water and sewage, according to officials in Gaza municipality. According to officials, the workers are doing their best to fix whatever they can.
During the 19 days of the Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip more than 1,000 Palestinians were killed and more than 6,000 wounded. Israel said that 46 people, including 43 soldiers, were killed and dozens were injured. The Israeli army said it will continue its operations against underground tunnels.
Efforts to end the fighting in the Gaza Strip are still going on, where Hamas movement and other groups insist that they would only accept to stop firing rockets into Israel, when Israel accepts to lift a blockade that turned the life of the Gaza Strip populations into suffering. On Saturday, several funerals were seen in the streets of Gaza city carrying the dead to the graveyards, while the crowds chanted slogans calling for revenge from Israel. But no one knew who will be next in this ongoing war between Israel and Gaza Hamas-led militant groups.
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