Page last updated at 12:33 GMT, Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Gazan families: 'Time running out'

BBC News returns to three Palestinians in different parts of the Gaza Strip to find out how they are coping after days of intense fighting.

TAMER, Beit Lahiya

It's getting worse and worse. The intensity of the fighting is increasing.

People are leaving Beit Lahiya. When I look out of my window I see farmers, people from everywhere just putting their furniture on donkeys, cars and lorries.

They are moving to the city centre or to the schools. I know that schools were hit by the Israelis yesterday but people have no option. There is nowhere to go except to gathering places or refugee camps which is what schools have become. Maybe there is some hope that what happened yesterday won't be repeated.

It's so sad to see neighbours, kids and women all walking in groups, all carrying stuff. Some just took food and left because they couldn't take their belongings.

I might leave the whole strip if I am lucky as I have citizenship elsewhere. But the Red Cross has said it is too dangerous to evacuate me now.

Shells and rockets are fired every few minutes. There is military action from both sides. Gunfire from tanks, artillery, it's continous. It means we cannot sleep and it's affecting us badly. We are all nervous, traumatised. We don't even talk to each other now.

We don't see any Israeli soldiers, just their tanks. I can see tanks from my window now. Friends who live 5km from us say some soldiers are in the houses in their area and it is a battle being fought from one house to the next. Some high buildings have been taken over by Israeli snipers.

Some people won't leave their houses because they are worried that if Israeli soldiers come in, they cannot monitor what happens.

Muhammad AbuShaban

We are still at home. We are still doing nothing because we don't have the ability to leave Gaza. But we have heard that the Israelis are ceasing fire for three hours today.

Normally when I look out of the the window all I see are black clouds from explosions. But at the moment I don't hear anything.

We go outside to buy food despite the risks and danger but not to supermarkets. Maybe during the ceasefire today we could go to the supermarket and get essentials, perhaps even look at some of the locations that have been destroyed.

We haven't had electricity for days and we do not have water. If I could I would buy bottles of water as that is a real necessity.

Some of my friends have lost contact with their relatives because they don't have electricity or connections. A lot of people are worried.

We can only manage because we have a small generator which we use to charge mobile phones and work the refrigerator for the sake of food. But the generator needs petrol and we have a very limited amount left. I don't know how long we can keep on going. Time is running out.

We have only one container of gas left for cooking. We are eating but trying not to depend on gas. We eat sandwiches and cold food. If the Israelis let the tanks of petrol come into Gaza and let the electricity station work we will be OK.

We are strong and we are thankful to be safe at the moment. We listen to radio news. Sometimes we tell jokes to lighten the mood although we don't laugh at the jokes.


Fahmy Khamess Shurab
Last night we heard shooting and tanks and helicopters as the Israeli army entered a district in the south of Khan Younis called Al Farah Ain.

We don't have bread or gas. I started to bring some wood and burn it and only then could we drink any tea or coffee. I have a young child of two. He is doing well and we have managed to bring him some milk and he eats bread when we have it.

But when he hears the loud bombings and explosions, suddenly he is afraid and his body shakes. I try to make him feel good but I cannot. He is a child and you cannot control such feelings.

If I find something good to eat when I go out I bring it. But there is nothing in Khan Younis. I am looking from the window right now and all of the shops are closed.

I go out to pray at the mosque four or five times a day. It is only 50m away from me. When I talked to people, I found that some people were very worried, others have started not to care. It has become normal to die.

When I went out today I met some political people who say there are a few Hamas militants and they fight with self confidence. They said how the militants think which is: "If the Israelis kill us, we go to paradise, if we kill Israelis they go to hell."

I haven't seen any Israeli soldiers for myself so far. The local radio says that when they come they are in tanks and are protected by helicopter cover.

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