| 5 March 2024, Tuesday |

Palestinians in Gaza use truce to pick through rubble of homes

Tahani al-Najjar used the quiet on Saturday to see the wreckage of her home, which was destroyed by an Israeli air attack that she said killed seven of her family members and forced her into a bunker. The bombardment had paused for seven weeks in Gaza in order to establish a truce.

Thousands of Gaza residents are making the same arduous trek from communal shelters and makeshift encampments to find out what has become of their houses more than 24 hours into the four-day fighting halt.

“Where will we live? Where will we go? We are trying to collect bits of wood to build a tent to shelter us, but to no avail. There is nothing to shelter a family,” Najjar said, picking through the rubble and twisted metal of her house.

Najjar, a 58-year-old mother of five from Khan Younis in the south of the enclave, said Israel’s military had also levelled her house in two previous conflicts in 2008 and 2014.

She pulled several miraculously intact cups from the ruins, where a bicycle and dust-caked clothes lay amid the debris. “We will rebuild again,” she said.

For many of the 2.3 million people who live in the tiny Gaza Strip, the pause in the near-constant air and artillery strikes has offered a first chance to safely move around, take stock of the devastation, and seek access to aid imports.

  • Reuters