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Gaza border residents flee area
Beside them lay the skeletons of their homes, some still burning, others blasted into mangled heaps of white concrete.
"My son is dead and my home is ruined," was all that the 66 year old man could say.
As for why the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) had seen fit to visit such punishment upon the area, a military statement described Shejaiya as a "fortress for Hamas terrorists," accusing the radical Islamist movement of hiding behind civilians.
"Days ago, we warned civilians in Shejaiya to evacuate," said the IDF.
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But this campaign has imposed its price on Israel as well: the IDF said that 13 Israeli soldiers were killed Sunday, bringing the total military losses to 18. Two civilians have also died in the rocket barrages launched from Gaza.
So intense was the barrage that flashes lit up the eastern horizon and pillars of black smoke rose into the sky. The immediate effect was to force thousands of Palestinians to flee their homes. At Converse All Star High Tops Leather
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What they had left behind became clear when Israel called a four hour "humanitarian" ceasefire in Shejaiya. Paramedics and firemen used this respite to do their utmost to reach survivors of the bombardment.
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Essam al Mighary stood a few metres from where his own house was on fire, visibly disorientated and with a filthy bandage covering his right hand.
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All around lay the possessions of the people of Al Beltaji St., cast into the rubble at random. Torn clothes mingled with shards of broken glass and heaps of debris. Fallen electricity wires snaked across what had once been pavements.
dawn, people streamed across Gaza City from east to west, searching for refuge at United Nations schools and the main hospital.
making it ideal for firing rockets at Israeli cities. The area duly became a key target for Israel's ground invasion of the Palestinian territory, which began last Thursday.
The heaviest bombardment of Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip fell upon the eastern suburb of Shejaiya Sunday, killing at least 60 people. After warning the area's 80,000 inhabitants to leave, Israeli forces began pounding Shejaiya with heavy artillery, mortars and air strikes from Saturday night onward.
In Al Beltaji St., where Mighary lived, building after building had been pulverized. In the space of a few minutes, the corpse of a woman was pulled from the rubble and wrapped in a Converse Chuck Taylor 2 Low white shroud. Another corpse, this time of a man, was carried past on a stretcher, with his face covered.
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The bombardment of Shejaiya has brought the Palestinian death toll to 438 since the onset of Israel's offensive on July 8. In that time, 20 Israelis have been killed.
The sudden outflow from Shejaiya has overwhelmed all the places where people can find shelter in Gaza. On Friday, the United Nations was hosting 30,000 internal refugees at its schools and health centres. By Sunday, that total had almost trebled to reach 81,000. Secretary of State John Kerry is heading back to the Middle East as the Obama administration attempts to bolster regional efforts to reach a ceasefire and sharpens its criticism of Hamas in its conflict with Israel.
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"Hamas ordered them to stay. Hamas put them in the line of fire."
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