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Page last updated at 13:03 GMT, Sunday, 28 December 2008

Grief and fear in Gaza

BBC journalist and Gaza resident Hamada Abu Qammar describes the impact of the current wave of Israeli airstrikes against Hamas targets.

Wounded boy, hospital in Gaza City (28.12.08)
Hospitals have been struggling to cope with the injured
The streets of Gaza are deserted, apart from a few cars taking urgent cases to hospital and families screaming and shouting as they take bodies to the cemetery to be buried.

This morning I visited Shifa Hospital, the main one in Gaza.

I spoke to one man, a civilian, and also a 14-year-old boy who were injured in an airstrike on a police station in the east of Gaza City this morning.

The man said he had been going to work in a clinic when he heard the sound of planes and turned back. But after that he cannot remember what happened - he just woke up injured, with wounds in his hand, leg and stomach.

The teenage boy had blood on his head and was in a lot of pain. He could not even remember his own name. "I don't even know where I am," he said to me.

I saw a body too, in the emergency room, with a stick of wood stuck through the chest.

Yesterday I also went into the hospital; the morgue was full and bodies were left in the streets. Parents were scouring the hospital for their children.

I followed one woman who was screaming "my son, my son" as she searched the building.

Eventually they located him, a young man was in his twenties. The staff would not let her see the body, but I saw it. It didn't have a head and there was no stomach. She fainted on top of the remains of her son, which were covered with a white sheet.

The relatives in the hospital scream and scream. They don't have words to express their feelings, they just say "God help us", over and over.

'Sitting and waiting'

I have seen several Israeli airstrikes this morning - one on a Hamas police post on the coastal road, another on a house about 200m from the BBC office. Smoke pours into the sky. The largest so far today was on the Hamas security headquarters, which is also near to our office, a few hundred metres away.

I was watching it from the window. There were three very loud bangs and a power cut. I could hear women screaming in their houses, and gunshots from Hamas men surrounding the area to keep people way.

The compound was in a big residential area, with lots of high buildings and apartments. Some of the homes are only about 5m from the site - and of course those buildings were damaged, with windows shattered and falling to the ground.

Electricity comes and goes as usual. Most shops are closed. There is a lack of everything - the UN relief agency UNRWA has not been able to deliver food aid for about 750,000 people.

There are shortages of anaesthetic gas, medical supplies, flour and milk - but many of the people I have spoken to say they don't feel like eating while this is going on.

Families are just sitting in their homes. I spoke to one of my neighbours, Iman, a 14-year-old-girl. She was so scared she could barely speak.

"I don't know where to go. I don't know where is a safe place to stay. We don't know when they will strike again," she said.

Israel is not currently permitting international journalists to cross into Gaza

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