'My wife and sons are gone': Gaza's grief amid the nightmare of air strikes

Continuous aerial bombardment by the Israeli Air Force is taking a terrible human toll

“It’s OK, my baby, I am with you,” Mohammed Al Hadidi tells his five-month-old son at a Gaza city hospital.

Hours earlier, the baby boy was saved from the rubble after Israeli strikes killed his mother and four siblings.

I left home because of the continuous bombing in my area

Ibrahim Al Massry, 27

“My God wants to compensate me, by leaving one of my sons,” said Mr Al Hadidi.

Eight children and their two mothers were killed early on Saturday when a three-storey house on the edge of Shati refugee camp was bombed.

“My wife went to visit her brother, but she couldn’t come back home because the situation was so dangerous,” Mr Al Hadidi told The National.

While he remained at home, the Abu Hattab family hosted his 36-year-old wife and their children. Residents say multiple strikes hit the home without warning, killing five members of each family.

“I can’t imagine my life without them, this world is so unjust,” said Mr Al Hadidi, his voice shaking.

“I can’t understand what happened, my beloved sons and my wife just gone. I am asking God to give me patience."

Among 139 Gazans killed in the violence this week were 39 children, while two children and six adults have been killed in Israel, according to medical officials.

Gazan officials have registered 1,038 people wounded. In Israel, 109 have been hurt by rockets fired from the Palestinian enclave.

In Shati refugee camp, rescuers worked for hours to recover the bodies of those killed.

Saeed Nofal, 23, left his home near by immediately after the shelling to help to search for survivors.

“I started to help the rescuers in pulling out the bodies of our neighbours. It was so shocking,” he said.

“I can’t delete the scenes from my mind, the bodies of children and women… it is unbelievable. After what I witnessed I want to sleep and not wake up until this all ends.”

The Israeli military confirmed it had attacked a residential building in the Shati area and accused Hamas, which rules Gaza, of using civilians as human shields.

More than 2,300 rockets have been fired from Gaza since Monday, according to Israel, whose military says it has hit more than 670 targets in the enclave.

With no immediate sign of a ceasefire, on Saturday a spokesman for Hamas’s military wing said the group was prepared to launch rockets at Israel for six months.

More than 10,000 people have been made homeless by the fighting, according to the UN.

Some have taken shelter in schools run by the UN’s agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA.

“I left home because of the continuous bombing in my area, no place [safe] to go,” Ibrahim Al Massry, 27, told The National, two days after fleeing Beit Lahia in northern Gaza for the school in Jabalia, further from the border than his home.

“The place here is not yet prepared to stay in,” he said. There was a lack of water and suitable bathrooms, he said. UNRWA said it was doing its best to make the schools a suitable refuge for residents.

Updated: May 15, 2021 10:34 PM


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