GAZA CITY: Gazans on Monday buried their dead, combed through the rubble of their homes and counted the cost of another violent Israeli onslaught.
At least 44 Palestinians, including four women and 15 children, were killed in the three-day bombardment, and more than 350 were injured. Eighteen homes were completely destroyed, 1,675 were damaged and 71 were made uninhabitable.
The attack began on Friday when Israel launched an aerial and artillery bombardment of Islamic Jihad positions, the biggest assault since Israel’s 11-day war on Gaza last year.
The violence finally ended late on Sunday with a ceasefire brokered by Egypt. “We received the news of the ceasefire with joy and happiness and we went back to our work,” said Gaza shopkeeper Hazem Douima. “We did not want more bloodshed.”
Bereaved families buried the victims. At one funeral joined by hundreds of mourners in Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, a single family laid four children to rest.
Sobhi El-Wawy, 44, told Arab News: “We thank God that we are still alive. They were hard days. There was bombing everywhere, it was frightening for adults and children. This is not the first time this has happened, and I don’t think it will be the last.
“We want to live as the rest of the world’s population lives … we do not want wars and we do not want escalation, we want peace.”
Rahma Al-Borai said: “We are almost back to normal life, but the lives of those who lost their children or loved ones will be much more difficult.
“We live in Gaza under a harsh life, there is a lot of poverty, and there is a lot of pain, and unfortunately no one looks at us with this view … the world is unjust.
“Look how the world dealt with Ukraine, and how they deal with the Palestinians. We are under bombardment … we are dying for no reason. What we want is only freedom.”
As the fragile truce took hold on Monday, Israel reopened the Kerem Shalom crossing to supply fuel for Gaza’s only power plant, generating eight hours of electricity a day. It also reopened the Erez crossing for hospital patients, some diplomats and foreigners.
Palestinians cannot yet cross the border to work, which Israel said was dependent on a period of calm, and a security assessment.