Hasan al-Attar stood quietly inside the morgue, looking at the bodies of his daughter, Lamya, and three other children from the same family. With the firefighter’s vest, he bent down to kiss his daughter before closing the door of the refrigeration unit.
“Pray for her,” a colleague said, taking his hand on Hasan’s shoulder.
Lamya and the children – brothers Amir and Islam al-Attar – and Mohammed al-Attar died Friday night in Beit Lahia, after an Israeli air strike bombed the house where they were staying.
The northern city of the Gaza Strip, along with Beit Hanoun and Jabalya, was one of the areas that witnessed an almost relentless aerial bombardment along with a large artillery bombardment. Shuja’iah, located east of Gaza City, was also mistreated.
An Israeli army spokesman said Friday that the pre-dawn offensive included 160 warplanes that took off from six air bases and used about 450 missiles and shells to attack 150 targets in 40 minutes.
Jonathan Conricus said the attack was aimed at destroying a “system of underground tunnels” in Gaza.
But Abedrabbo al-Attar, a resident of Beit Lahia, told Al Jazeera that the raids were aimed at civilians.
“We left home shouting after home [that Lamya and the children were in] next to us it was destroyed, ”the 40-year-old father said.
“It simply came to our notice then. There were no resistance fighters in the area, and Israel bombed everything, more than 50 strikes non-stop. “
Al-Attar said his family and his brother’s family walked about an 8km walk before arriving at a UNRWA school in front of Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.
“Our kids slept on the bare floor,” he said. “We didn’t bring anything with us and we don’t know if our house is still standing.”
Dozens of families from northern Gaza cities were also displaced. In the residential building of Abraj al-Nada, the families were unable to leave due to the strong fire and asked for help from the Red Cross.
“This is the worst war I have ever experienced in my life and I have seen some of it,” al-Attar said. “He’s been absolutely ruthless.”
Land incursion ready
According to the Gaza Ministry of Health, 119 Palestinians have been killed so far, including 31 children and 19 women. At least 830 more people have been injured.
Israeli health officials say 1,050 rockets have been launched so far from the Gaza Strip. Eight Israelis and one Indian citizen have been killed and more than 130 injured.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed that the offensive will continue “as necessary to restore calm to the state of Israel.”
Al Jazeera’s Elias Karram said many Israeli tanks had advanced into the Gaza Strip on Thursday and are now one kilometer from the Israeli fence.
Karram also noted that the Israeli army summoned 16,000 reserve soldiers and banned military departure.
The pre-dawn escalation in the Gaza Strip caused many residents to post their farewells on social media. Large power outages swept the city of Gaza during the Israeli attack.
Shujaiyah resident Diaa Wadi tweeted her ordeal live.
“Hello world,” he said he wrote at one point. “My family and I are under fire from Israeli artillery and warplanes.
“We were distributed in a different corner of the same room,” he continued. “Each of us takes a bag, with our papers and some belongings, looking at each other. Now fear is sitting with us. This is the hardest and heaviest moment of my whole life! ”
Two hours later, after the calm of the attacks, Wadi said he wished he could see in the morning.
“Even if we don’t see the sun again, we’re all for Jerusalem,” he said.
In Beit Hanoun, an entire residential area was devastated by airstrikes. One of the Palestinians living in the area, Mohammed al-Zoni, told Al Jazeera that they destroyed up to 30 houses.
“Everything that has to do with life has been destroyed,” he said. “Cars, carts, fields … everything.”
– Tamer Hamam (ame itamer83) May 14, 2021
Translation: Massive destruction caused by the violent Zionist bombing last night in the city of Beit Hanoun, north of the Gaza Strip.
Al-Zoni said that only by the grace of God did anyone die, as the families fled immediately after the attacks began.
“We were sitting at home when, without warning, the bombing began,” he said. “It simply came to our notice then. My family is staying with relatives in a different area for now, but Israel needs to know one thing, and that is that we will stay here. “
When the people of Gaza recover from what they have described as one of the worst nights, others will continue to bury their loved ones.
On Wednesday night, Rafat Tanani and his entire family were killed in an Israeli attack in the area of Sheikh Zayed in northern Gaza. He and his wife Rawya, 36, who was pregnant, and their children Ismail, Adham, Amir and Mohammed, all under the age of 8, were buried alive under the rubble.
Translation: My niece Zena (one year) and nephew Mohammad (3 years) the time they were pulled from under the rubble after [Israeli] planes bombed our house suddenly. So far, my upstairs neighbors, a husband, his wife and their four children, the eldest of whom is 7 years old, are missing.
Rescue teams took a day to reach the family bodies.
“It’s completely baffling the way Israel is heading to civilian homes, killing children and displacing people,” Rafat’s cousin Jameel told Al Jazeera. “What we are experiencing now is much worse than the 2014 offensive.
“The bombings and airstrikes this time are crazy.”