Gazans Return to Ruined Homes as Truce Holds
Five- day ceasefire between Israel and Hamas encourages many Palestinians to head back home to inspect damage .
Many Palestinians living close to the Israeli border have returned to piles of rubble
where their homes once stood , as a fragile five – day ceasefire extension between
Hamas and Israel entered its second day.
Calm held on Friday morning as the two sides in the Gaza conflict pondered
Egyptian – mediated efforts to secure a lasting peace .
Om Ahmed , who returned to the town of Khozaa to inspect the home she had
bought last year , found it completely flattened by Israeli strikes.
” I was shocked and was screaming in the street. I still have to pay the mortgage .
I am a widow . my husband was killed in the previous war and now my son is in
hospital ,” she said.
Her relative Nuseiba Kadeh and her four children, who fled during the conflict to a
safer place , also returned after the ceasefire was extended.
” We will stay here for the next five days . I haven ‘ t seen many members of my
family since the war started . I want to know what happened to them , ” she said .
Uncertainty prevailed among residents living on both sides of the border , especially
after Israeli strikes and a flurry of Hamas rockets attacks had been launched
shortly after the ceasefire agreement entered into force .
Since then , fighting appears to have been quelled . If observed, the latest truce
should herald potentially the longest period of calm in the five – week conflict. An
earlier truce collapsed in a firestorm of violence on August 8 .
The Israeli offensive on Gaza , which started on July 8 , has so far claimed the lives
of more than 1, 960 Palestinians , mostly civilians, according to the health ministry
in Gaza . More than 100 , 000 others have been reported injured .
On the Israeli side , three civilians have been killed by rockets fired from the Gaza
Strip . The fighting has also left 64 Israeli soldiers dead, according to the Israeli
To achieve a durable solution to the conflict , thorny negotiations have been taking
place in Egypt between Israel and Palestinian factions . Delegates from both sides
returned from Cairo on Thursday for consultations with their respective bases.