Intisar al-Masri, a 65-year-old woman from the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahia, could hardly identify the remains of her house that was destroyed by the Israeli warplanes in the current round of tension.
“Only a few days ago, my 20-member family was living here with a lot of love and hopes,” the elderly woman told Xinhua standing in front of a hill of rubble.
“My husband and sons spent years scraping up money to construct the two-floor house for our family. However, everything is gone now and we are displaced,” the woman said in grief.
On Wednesday night, al-Masri and her family were told by their neighbor to evacuate from the house before it was attacked by the Israeli army. Later, their house was completely destroyed in the airstrike.
“More than 30 houses were damaged and became uninhabitable, while 360 others were partially affected by the Israeli airstrikes,” said Salama Maarouf, the Hamas-run government’s spokesman, in a press conference held in Gaza on Thursday.
“The Israeli occupation deliberately targets the security in Gaza and displaces civilians since it can not affect the Palestinian resistance in Gaza,” he claimed.
Mohammed Bashir, a Palestinian man from Deir al-Balah city in central Gaza, also lost his three-floor house after the Israeli army completely destroyed it.
“I was shocked when the army attacked our house,” he said, adding “we are civilians who look forward to living in security and peace in our house.”
Both al-Masri and Bashir express their fears as their families have been added to the list of displaced people who have to wait long before receiving the funds to rebuild their residential constructions.
“Soon the current conflict will end, but we will start our real suffering before rearranging our lives again,” said Bashir.
Meanwhile, the Israeli army said in a press statement that its forces attacked military sites and underground missile platforms belonging to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in Gaza that were used to launch rockets at Israeli cities.
Israeli army spokesman Avichai Adraee said that “the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) has bombed 215 PIJ targets in the Gaza Strip, in addition to eliminating five prominent PIJ leaders.”
The Gaza-Israel conflict has begun on Tuesday after a surprising Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip killed three senior PIJ leaders.
Since then, the joint chamber of military operations, which comprises several Palestinian factions’ armed wings, including the PIJ and the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), has exchanged fire with the Israeli army, leaving 33 Palestinians and one Israeli killed by Friday, according to official statistics.
Egypt, Qatar, and the UN are mediating a ceasefire between Israel and the Hamas-led militant groups, including the PIJ, but fail to reach an agreement on ending this round of tension, said Palestinian sources. ■