Skip to main content

Trapped in war: 'This is tyranny'

By Ben Wedeman, CNN
updated 7:44 AM EDT, Tue July 15, 2014
  • 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.

Map of the Middle East  Map of the Middle East
Map of the Middle EastMap of the Middle East
Israel: We warn then we bomb
Source: Israelis to discuss cease-fire
UN: Palestinian people aren't statistics

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."

Part of complete coverage on
Tensions in the Middle East
Here's a look at some of the most serious conflicts involving Israel and its neighbors -- conflicts that have spanned more than six decades.
updated 11:17 AM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
A video released by ISIS shows the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley and threatens the life of another American if President Obama doesn't end military operations in Iraq.
updated 5:04 AM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
19-year-old Udi Segal explains why he won't join his country's military.
updated 8:28 PM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
The sights at the Gaza zoo couldn't be sadder, after it was nearly destroyed during recent Israel-Hamas conflict.
updated 12:11 PM EDT, Fri August 15, 2014
Both Hamas and Israel have chosen conflict over real peace negotiations again and again in the past, writes Rabbi Yehiel Grenimann.
updated 11:05 AM EDT, Fri August 15, 2014
Mohammed Najib says Hamas' objectives also include ending its political isolation.
updated 6:07 PM EDT, Fri August 8, 2014
With so many conflicts, on so many fronts, here's a quick look at what's happening.
updated 10:29 AM EDT, Sat July 5, 2014
Alan Elsner: How Israel reacts will be decisive turning point for both Israelis and Palestinians.
updated 4:59 PM EDT, Fri August 8, 2014
The Israel-Gaza conflict impacts families on both sides. Karl Penhaul speaks to the family of a militant killed in Gaza.
updated 9:41 PM EDT, Wed August 6, 2014
A sense of Egypt's historic role and the traditional animosity of their military toward Islamist radicalism have propelled Egypt to take a central role in the on-off cease-fire talks.
updated 5:50 PM EDT, Wed August 6, 2014
If the Gaza truce holds and Israel's Operation Protective Edge comes to its conclusion, some things are certain.
updated 12:26 PM EDT, Wed August 6, 2014
CNN's Tim Lister says, to secure peace, Israel needs to offer Gazans a better future.
updated 4:35 PM EDT, Tue August 5, 2014
Tensions between U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have been strained for years.
updated 9:16 AM EDT, Wed August 6, 2014
Images from the conflict between Israel and Hamas depict apparent civilians, caught in the middle.
updated 9:06 AM EDT, Tue August 5, 2014
Hamas must be tamed through politics, not the failed strategy of war, argues Ed Husain.
updated 9:55 AM EDT, Mon August 4, 2014
It may have started as a TV debate about the Israel-Hamas conflict, but it's now turned into an online war of words.
updated 2:20 PM EDT, Mon August 4, 2014
Hamas' political leader, who lives in Qatar, sits down with CNN for an exclusive interview.
updated 6:43 AM EDT, Mon August 4, 2014
Nafoz Mohammed is living in a cramped two-room apartment with 16 other people, hours holed up in fear.
updated 12:54 AM EDT, Sun August 3, 2014
Karl Penhaul visits a destroyed section of Gaza and learns how the bombing has affected one student's aspirations.
updated 2:15 AM EDT, Fri August 1, 2014
The birth of a child is normally a joyous occasion, but it is tinged by sadness and anxiety in Gaza. Ian Lee reports.
updated 1:24 PM EDT, Thu July 31, 2014
Amid the Gaza conflict, experts try to figure out who's in charge of "the resistance."
updated 6:10 AM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
The opening was so small that CNN's Wolf Blitzer -- no physical giant -- had to bend down to climb inside.
Follow CNNArabic for the latest news and analysis from the Middle East and rest of the world.