Page last updated at 18:31 GMT, Monday, 5 January 2009

Fear for homes amid Gaza danger

BBC journalist and Gaza resident Hamada Abu Qammar describes the atmosphere inside the Gaza Strip, as Palestinians flee their homes to escape Israeli incursions.

Gazans hold white flags
Gazans wave white flags as they leave their homes near Jabaliya camp

Lots of families have been moving to Nuseirat refugee camp, where I am, including my friend Raed Soliman.

Normally he lives in Netzarim, where there used to be an Israeli settlement, but he told me the situation was very bad.

"Overnight Saturday into Sunday, Israeli soldiers in tanks and bulldozers moved in, right in front of my house," he said.

"We didn't dare leave the house for a day or so, but the incursion is so serious, I felt we had to move."

The Israeli soldiers are still in Netzarim, but some are moving south, towards us.

I still cannot get to the BBC office in Gaza City, the Israelis are in control of the main north-south Salahuddin Road here. So we're staying put at my brother's house, along with about 20 other family members.

My house is next to a Hamas leader's house, so if it is hit, my house will be rubble too

People are even leaving areas without links to Hamas, because they are expecting air strikes to hit civilian places.

Last night two houses in Nuseirat were completely destroyed, but nobody was in either of them at the time. One belonged to a Hamas militant. The other house belonged to a political leader from the PFLP [Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine].

My house is next to a Hamas leader's house, so if it is hit, my house will be rubble too. That's why we're at my brother's.

'Terrible' situation

Israeli ships off the Gaza coast are firing into the strip.

My nephew Wissam is in Jabaliya camp in the north and tells me "houses are burning".

He says life is terrible there and the situation is getting worse and worse, especially in the eastern side near the Salahuddin Road.

My wife has a lot of family there too, but her only contact is via her brother in Qatar. He told her an artillery shell landed on her father's house, burning the garden and part of the building.

Our nerves are fragile. Last night there was an Israeli attack just 200 metres west of our house. It left a big hole in the road. Everyone was screaming.

The children had been asleep, but woke up crying. It wasn't just the children who were crying.

Israel is not currently permitting international journalists to cross into Gaza.

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