‘No one feels safe’: Palestinians in fear as Israeli airstrikes in Gaza kill at least 490 women and children


(NEW YORK) — Hundreds of targets have been hit in Gaza by Israel following the Saturday incursion from Hamas terrorists, the group that controls the Palestinian territory of Gaza. More than 200 targets were struck in Gaza by Israeli forces in just one day, according to authorities.

In Gaza, at least 900 people have died — among them 260 children and 230 women — and another 4,500 have been wounded since Saturday, according to the latest numbers from Palestinian officials.

In Israel, at least 900 people have been killed and 2,600 others injured.

Palestinians in the Gaza Strip say they are living in fear as Israel retaliates for the actions of the militant terrorist group, with nowhere for them go.

There are no bomb shelters for Palestinians to hide from airstrikes.

An Israeli airstrike hit nearby the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza on Tuesday for the second time in two days, according to the the interior ministry in Gaza said.

“Gaza is a closed zone. There’s nowhere people can evacuate to — there’s no shelters,” said Laila El-Haddad, 45, a Palestinian-American living in Maryland whose family is currently in Gaza.

She continued, “The borders are all controlled and shut and the one border bordering Egypt was bombed earlier today. You know, unless they plan to swim out — but there’s a naval blockade — they really have nowhere to go.”

For many, crossing into Israel amid the attacks is not an option.

“Even during normal times, we’re not allowed to leave,” said Jason Shawa, 55, a Palestinian currently living in Gaza with his wife and two daughters. “Very, very, very few people in Gaza that have permission to leave.”

Hundreds of apartments and homes have been destroyed in the Gaza Strip, including refugee camps, leaving more than 123,000 people displaced, according to the United Nations.

More than 73,000 people are sheltering in schools, while hospitals struggle to cope with the numbers of injured.

Shawa lives just miles from the city center where much of the shelling by Israeli forces is occurring. He has taken five other families into his home, which he said is safer than most because his house has a basement to shelter from the airstrikes.

“No one feels safe,” said Shawa. “It happens everywhere, anytime. No warnings contrary to what we hear from Israel. My wife and I — our major concerns are our two daughters … They’re very scared. Very, very scared.”

Israel Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said that all food, fuel, electricity, and other necessities will be blocked from entering the Gaza Strip.

“Every single thing we eat, or drink or consume in terms of medicines, food or drink is strictly controlled by the Israeli military,” said Shawa. “We have no control over that. So, as a result of their stringent control of Gaza, life has become literally unbearable. In Gaza, conditions are beyond horrible, and we have shortages in everything.”

The land, sea and air blockade placed by Israel and Egypt restricts who and what is allowed in and out of the Gaza Strip under Hamas’ rule, according to the United Nations.

The longstanding Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been ongoing, spurred by centuries-old disputes over land ownership in the region.

El-Haddad’s childhood home in the city-center neighborhood of Remal was leveled Monday by Israeli-force bombings.

Much of her family still lives in Gaza and she was communicating with them to get first-hand accounts of the conflict in Gaza’s densely populated city center.

“Gaza is truly a pressure cooker and people are pushed into a corner,” said El-Haddad. “No human being will be able to tolerate such conditions.”

She continued, “When you understand the conditions that Palestinians are enduring, one might be left to ask not why this has happened, but why something like this has not happened sooner? And that is not to justify — the loss of human life in any way, shape, or form is tragic. That is the question people should be asking: How can any human tolerate such conditions?”

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