Residents of an apartment block in Rimal expressed their frustration with heavy sarcasm, asking, “Where do we go? Is there a safe place left in this neighborhood, which was so quiet and beautiful?” They had endured seven harrowing hours as Israeli warplanes retaliated for the Palestinian militant group’s unprecedented assault on southern Israel from the Gaza Strip.
These Israeli strikes caused extensive damage to dozens of residential buildings, telecommunications company offices, and faculty buildings at the Islamic University of Gaza. Terrifying explosions and sleepless nights plagued the area, leaving its residents in shock.
As dawn broke on Tuesday, the damage became painfully apparent, with Rimal’s infrastructure severely affected, roads cut off, and the neighborhood resembling the aftermath of an earthquake.
“I lost everything. My apartment, where my five children lived, was here in this building. My grocery shop below the building was destroyed,” lamented Mohammed Abu al-Kass. Many residents found themselves homeless and without work, questioning why their homes and shops were targeted.
The Palestinian health ministry reported around 300 people killed in Israeli attacks on Gaza on Monday, with a majority being civilians, marking one of the deadliest days in years. Meanwhile, the overall death toll in Gaza since Saturday has reached 900, including 260 children, and another 4,500 people have been injured.
As the crisis deepens, Gaza’s 2.2 million residents are running out of essential supplies, with food, fuel, electricity, and water in short supply due to Israel’s “complete siege” in response to Hamas’s attack.
The situation outside Gaza’s largest supermarket is chaotic, with people queuing in the hopes of purchasing provisions, knowing that the fighting may persist. With the severe fuel shortage affecting transport, Gaza’s supply chain is under threat.
Despite the dire humanitarian situation, there have been no deliveries of essential goods from Egypt, which, along with Israel, has maintained a blockade of Gaza since Hamas took control in 2007. Additionally, Israeli airstrikes on the Rafah border crossing with Egypt have disrupted the limited flow of people in and out of Gaza, forcing many to seek refuge in UN-run schools.
Some Gazans are sheltering in basements, although this presents the risk of being trapped if the building above collapses. The strikes on Monday night have shattered the illusion of safety even in neighborhoods like Rimal.
The situation remains precarious, with the civilian population in Gaza enduring untold suffering and uncertainty.