Khan Younis was one of the areas most affected by the Israeli military offensive that claimed the lives of over 2,100 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip last summer. Ismael Ahmed Wafi, a truck driver and father from Khan Younis, worked to help rescue victims from under the rubble during the attacks and is currently assisting with cleanup efforts.
The damage Israel inflicted on Gaza during its 50-day attack last summer left thousands of Palestinians in desperate need of aid and home reconstruction. The process of rebuilding has been heavily impeded by the blockade, which prevents most types of building materials such as cement and steel from entering the strip. This shortage has caused many to resort to making repairs and building new homes with the limited supplies that are available.
Shojae'a, which is one of the largest neighborhoods in Gaza, was also one of the most intensely bombed during Israel’s summer offensive. Before the attacks, more than 250,000 Palestinians lived there. Now, months later, few voices can be heard in the streets. Some of those whose properties were partly destroyed in Israel's bombings returned to live in what remained of their homes.
Khuza’a, a village in Khan Younis, was one of the many villages attacked during Israel’s ground invasion and aerial bombardment of Gaza in July and bore witness to horrific incidents of brutality. Two paramedics with the Palestine Red Crescent Society branch in Khan Younis share what they experienced during the few hours they were allowed to work in the village.
Forty-four-year-old Gaza farmer Shehda Al-Najjar tells the story of how he was shot and left bleeding for hours by Israeli forces in July.
Many of the Israeli attacks launched on Gaza this summer targeted innocent civilians inhabitants who lost their basic rights, homes, and in thousands of cases, their lives or the lives of their family members. Gaza is now in ruins once again, its people still suffering heavily even though the bombs have stopped.
Omar Mohammed Shaheen, a father of four, describes what it was like returning to his neighborhood in Beit Lahiya, Gaza after taking shelter in an UNRWA school during Israel’s latest assault.
Sadness and shock were all I could feel when I entered the hospital room of the three Wahdan children, all seriously injured by an Israeli airstrike. The Wahdan family was one of the many that fled from border areas in Gaza in search of safer shelter only to be followed by Israeli warplanes.
The war went on for more than a month, the longest and harshest war the Palestinian people have witnessed. Innocent people were killed, houses were bombed, and people are still taking shelter at United Nations schools. For them it’s the only place where they can stay.