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Exhausted Gazans under fire again

#Exhausted #Gazans #fire

With empty streets and curtains drawn, Gaza feels like a ghost town. Tested by repeated wars, its inhabitants feel like they are witnessing the same scenes over and over again.

Before Israel launched its “preemptive strikes” against militants in the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian Territory was enjoying a summer unlike any other in recent years.

Gaza’s beaches, long considered too polluted with sewage for swimmers, have been largely reopened, allowing Palestinian swimmers and surfers to rediscover the joys of the sea.

All of that came to an abrupt end on Friday when Israel again bombed the area, citing threats from Islamic Jihad militants.

“We lived in peace and suddenly the bombardment started,” said 40-year-old Mohammed Hamami.

“Enough enough!” he exclaimed. “Every month or every year there is a war.”

Since 2007 there have been four conflicts between Israel and Gaza armed groups.

The seafront, one of the rare resorts of the impoverished and overcrowded territory that was overcrowded less than 24 hours earlier, was desolate on Saturday.

Street vendors stayed at home and cafes were closed.

Fifteen months after the latest conflict between Israel and armed groups on the territory wreaked havoc on countless Gaza residents, Hamami said he was “surprised” that Israel had attacked again.

Twice in July, Israeli warplanes attacked Gaza after the military fired rockets and guns from the area. But this time, the military said it was preparing for a week-long operation.

The Jewish state has blocked Gaza since 2007, the year Hamas Islamists seized power in the territory.

– ‘fear, fear’ –

The Israeli army said its recent campaign has targeted militant sites and fighters, and estimates 15 fighters have been killed.

Militant Palestinians fought back with rocket fire.

The Hamas-led Health Ministry has reported 13 dead from Israeli fire, including a five-year-old girl, Alaa Kaddum. Her father carried her to her funeral with a wound on his forehead and a pink bow in his hair.

The ministry said more than 110 other people were injured.

The long night and second day of Israeli attacks evoked familiar and unwelcome emotions among Gaza residents.

“This latest escalation brings back images of fear, anxiety and a feeling that we are all alone,” said Dounia Ismail, a Gaza City resident.

The incessant explosions and airstrikes kept her up all night, she said.

“It has become a habit for Palestinians in Gaza to prepare a survival kit containing a few essentials, such as photos, documents and some money and medicine,” in case they have to flee their homes, Ismail said.

“I hope this escalation does not turn into a major conflict and I hope that Egyptian mediation will restore calm.”

In Jabalia, in northern Gaza, Fouad Farajallah inspected the remains of his home that was hit by an Israeli attack on Friday.

The living room had turned into a mass of tin and rubble, the fan dangling from the ceiling.

“I was sitting here on the sofa with my wife and kids and suddenly it all fell on us,” he said.

“My wife broke her hand and my son was injured by shrapnel.”

Even if it seems to go quiet again between bombings, something else fills the air: the hum of Israeli drones.

Social Tags:
#Exhausted #Gazans #fire

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