Page last updated at 14:51 GMT, Monday, 5 January 2009

Gazan families: taking cover

BBC News returns to three Palestinians in different parts of the Gaza Strip to see how they are coping since the Israeli army started ground incursions on Saturday, after a week of air attacks.

TAMER, Beit Lahiya

Can you hear it outside? The Israeli army are approaching my area and it's very intense outside.

I'm in the northern part of Beit Lahiya, if you look from the window you can see the tanks quite nearby, and lots of smoke. All we can do is listen to local radio. The majority of the stations are Hamas and they don't always give exact information.

Israeli radio in Arabic keeps breaking into the local broadcasting and repeating the same message: "For your own safety we ask you to leave your house and go to the centre of the city." They don't say which city.

I consider Beit Lahiya to be a city. Or where to go within it. If they told us to gather at the local school that might be helpful.

[Explosions can be heard] What you are hearing is firing from tanks. It's becoming very heavy. It's absolutely not safe to leave the house. The last time I went outside was Saturday morning, for a quick dash to get supplies.

The last Qassam rocket we saw being fired came from a farm only about 200-300 metres from the house. It's a real war going on.

We are all in shock, very scared. We haven't slept for days. We are all in one room on the ground floor - it's the only room in the house which has glass in the windows.

When they shoot from the F16 aeroplanes, it sends waves of aftershock which blow out the windows. It interferes with radio and TV reception too. The only TV channel we can still receive is al-Jazeera English. Not the Arabic, not the BBC.

Muhammad AbuShaban

Last night an F16 plane attacked a civilian car parked at the end of our road, 20m away. We were all downstairs at the time, the noise from the explosion was terrible, the whole house moved.

I had a look this morning. I opened our front door and walked about 10m towards it and then came back. The car is totally destroyed, but thank God no one was in it. It belonged to someone we know, he's a doctor.

Apart from that, nothing is too close in my area. But about an hour and a half ago a lot of noise and huge explosions started up. We're not sure where from. We get very little news.

I heard this morning that friends of mine, in the far eastern areas, were taken away by the Israeli army. The Israelis evacuated the women and then destroyed ten houses. I heard this directly from the women - it happened early today.

In our part of Gaza we haven't had electricity for four days. We are trying to save water in the tank. We still have some, but as long as there is no electricity, we get no water.

My family is OK, we don't put ourselves in danger. That's why I only walked 10m from my front door this morning.


Fahmy Khamess Shurab
I spent two hours today looking for somewhere selling bread. After that I gave up, because even if I'd spent ten hours I still couldn't find any, even the biggest bakeries were empty.

Most of the time I stay at home looking after my mother, grandmother, wife and child, younger brothers and sister. I only leave for important things like bread.

My family is very scared actually. They listen to the local radio and say "Oh, our turn is coming soon, the Israelis are coming."

Israel is destroying every building that they think may belong to Hamas or any Islamic movement, even if it includes some normal civilians.

But I think they are escalating things in vain - with no benefit.

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