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Trapped in war: 'This is tyranny'

By Ben Wedeman, CNN
updated 7:44 AM EDT, Tue July 15, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The death toll from nearly a week of Israeli airstrikes on Gaza had reached 186
  • Around 70% of the fatalities are civilians, according to the United Nations
  • In one of the bloodiest single strikes so far, 18 people were killed late Saturday

Northern Gaza (CNN) -- Mohamed Al-Batsh recalls a premonition he had the first day Israeli airstrikes began in Gaza.

He saw his father's face.

"He looked strange," Al-Batsh said. "I went to my room, closed the door, and I knew he would die. I put my head on the pillow and cried for my father and the people who would die."

His father was a leader in Hamas' military wing. He was killed late Saturday in an Israeli airstrike, along with 17 others, in one of the bloodiest single strikes so far. One of the victims was just 10 years old.

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The attack in Shaja'ia, near Gaza City, highlights how residents of Gaza are trapped in war -- with no way out.

By Monday, the death toll from nearly a week of Israeli airstrikes on Gaza had reached 186 -- all of them Palestinians -- with at least 1,390 wounded, according to Palestinian health authorities.

Airstrikes have killed some militants; however, around 70% of the fatalities are civilians, according to the United Nations. Of the dead, more than 30 are children, the U.N. reported.

Israel has said it will continue the offensive as long as the militant group Hamas keeps firing rockets into its territory.

And Hamas shows no sign of letting up after launching almost 1,000 rockets at Israel.

The scene of destruction is repeated in Jabalya, in northern Gaza.

There, contents of a home are strewn in the road after another Israeli airstrike. No one was hurt.

The house next door may have been the target, but half of the one beside it was destroyed.

The Israeli military says its forces have struck 1,470 "terror targets" across Gaza, and that Hamas often hides missiles and other weapons in hospitals and private homes.

"My son isn't here," says Mohamed Abu Hassan, a neighbor. He says he who doesn't understand why he and his family are being punished.

"Is she fighting Israel?" he asks about his wife. "This is tyranny."

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