Hamouda Abu Amra, a Palestinian man in his 60s, was forced to race with death last week after he received a phone call from a self-identified Israeli security officer who asked him to evacuate his house immediately.
The short phone call, made in poor Arabic, came during a new wave of violence between Israel and the militant groups in the Gaza Strip.
“Hurry up, leave the house. It will be bombed,” warned a voice in the phone call that turned Abu Amra’s life upside down.
At first, the old Palestinian man, who lives east of Khan Younis in southern Gaza, took it as a friend’s joke, but soon he came around when the self-identified Israeli officer gave him the names of his neighbors who were also told to leave home because of the upcoming bombing.
“We only had seven minutes to run away from our house, and then we watched Israeli aircraft destroying it with bombs,” Abu Amra told Xinhua as he stood in front of the debris of his house.
It’s not the first time that Abu Amra’a house is bombed by Israeli aircraft. His house was destroyed three times during the large-scale Israeli military offensives waged on the Gaza Strip in 2009, 2012 and 2014 respectively.
“This is the fourth time that our house is destroyed. I can’t rebuild it again,” he said with despair and sadness.
“Around 20 people have become homeless, and we don’t have the money to rebuild the house,” the old man added.
In parallel with what happened to Abu Amra, Israeli aircraft destroyed a carpentry workplace belonging to Ayman Abdulaal’s family in eastern Gaza City, yet without warning.
The Israeli airstrike killed three brothers who were at the workplace, the only source of living for the family of 19.
“I was working with my children at the workplace and then I left. After two hours, I received a phone call at home saying the carpentry was bombed while my children were there,” said Ayman Abdulaal, father of the three killed children.
“So far, I still don’t know why they (Israeli aircraft) bombed my workplace and killed my three children,” he told Xinhua with deep sadness.
“The Israeli occupation is criminal. It doesn’t abide by any laws and doesn’t differentiate between a civilian and a militant,” the father said.
Last week, a new wave of violence broke out between Israel and militant groups in the Gaza Strip after Israel bombed the house of Baha Abu al-Atta, a senior commander of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, killing him and his wife.
In response, the militant group fired barrages of rockets into Israel, before Israeli war aircraft retaliated by launching airstrikes on Gaza, killing 35 Palestinians including women and children.
Naji Serhan, a director general in the Palestinian ministry of housing and public works, said the Palestinian losses during the Israeli bombings on Gaza were estimated at 3 million U.S. dollars.
“A total of 500 housing units were partially damaged and 30 housing units were completely or partially destroyed,” Serhan said in an e-mailed press statement.
Farms, irritating networks and fishermen’s boats were also damaged, he added.
“The last Israeli aggression has deepened the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip caused by the Israeli siege that has been imposed for 13 years, which is considered one of the toughest collective punishments,” the Palestinian official noted. Enditem