Ordeal pushes Palestinians in southern Gaza to despair (Al Jazeera)

Those who fled the northern Gaza Strip found themselves exposed and scared on the front line again as the Israeli offensive resumed, especially after Israeli bombardment became focused on the southern city of Khan Younis.

The newspaper – in a report by Dan Sabbagh from Jerusalem – started from the story of Reham Shaheen, who, shortly after the Israeli army resumed the bombing campaign, had a rare opportunity to talk to her husband Muhannad, who is sheltering with his family in Deir al-Balah in the southern half of the Gaza Strip.

Reham Shaheen, who works for a humanitarian association and is now in Jordan after leaving on a business trip two days before the war, said her husband "feels helpless and frustrated. He told me I really regret moving from the north of the Strip to the south. I am afraid that we will be killed after we were forced to flee our house."

She added that fear and mistrust spread among her sons because their parents told them that it would be safer in the south, after Israel demanded that the north be evacuated, so "now they don't even trust what we tell them."

As the war resumed, hope began to run out, and one relative summed it up more succinctly: "What we wish now is to kill, to avoid going through all this sense of threat all the time and staying in that ordeal."

New exodus to the south

The film, filmed by photojournalist Youssef Bassam, showed the terrifying intensity of the attacks on Saturday morning, with a series of loud explosions captured in the north of the area from a distance, after an earlier live report by Al Jazeera showed shelling in Khan Younis, where locals said 10 houses had been destroyed.

Leaflets dropped by the Israeli military called on residents of some areas near Khan Younis to head south to Rafah, warning that the area was now a "dangerous fighting zone", and video footage on Saturday showed displaced Palestinians making their way south on the rubble-strewn main Salah al-Din road.

Jason Lee, Save the Children's Country Director in Palestine, said he was witnessing a new population transition in a country where 1.7 million people have been displaced and nearly <> million are crowded in the southern Strip, adding that "only two hospitals are functioning and there are hardly any medical supplies."

Camps and shelters are hopelessly overcrowded, in one case 35 times, and outbreaks of gastroenteritis and diarrhoea are becoming increasingly common in a region of about 1.1 million children, Li said.

Source: The Guardian