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Last Updated: Saturday, 4 November 2006, 21:38 GMT
Beit Hanoun - a resident's account
Blood mixed with water in a street in Beit Hanoun
More than 40 Palestinians have died since Wednesday
The town of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip has been under siege since early Wednesday.

The Israeli army says it is trying to root out Palestinian rocket squads, who fire from Gaza into Israel.

Ibrahim al-Za'anin, a 55-year-old Palestinian Authority employee, describes conditions for him and his family in his hometown.

Three days ago the Israeli army was only 10m from my home.

Now I can hear heavy fire coming from Israeli military aircraft and the tanks.

Sometimes we hear the RPG missiles launched by the militants too.

However, I haven't seen the militants with my own eyes because I cannot leave my home.

We don't know what exactly is going on outside the walls of our home. We follow the news on local radio stations. They broadcast live SOS messages from people trapped in their homes.

My youngest daughter will not even go to the toilet on her own, she is so paralysed with fear.

The Israeli special forces positioned on the roofs of houses are firing on anything that moves.

Conditions are very bad. We haven't had electricity or water since the night of Tuesday into Wednesday.

I have a son who is suffering from an allergy that makes breathing difficult. His medicine has run out and I cannot leave my home to get more.

There is a full curfew. Today [Saturday] they let women out for two hours to buy food for the first time; but after half an hour, the Israeli soldiers fired into the air and told them to return home immediately.

We have had Israeli military incursions in Beit Hanoun before, but this is the worst.


Some members of my extended family have been injured. All are civilians. They were injured either inside their homes or in the courtyard.

I know the parents of some of the young people who were killed because they are the same age as me; in their fifties.

There is an atmosphere of terror; fear and anxiety for the future. We don't know what will happen to us.

We no longer feel safe, even inside our own homes.

Until now, the Israeli forces have not allowed the Red Cross to visit the places asking for urgent help.

My youngest daughter is 11. She will not even go to the toilet on her own, she is so paralysed with fear.

Even when they are at home, children feel constant fear because of the heavy firing and the noise of the aircraft.

I think this offensive may last for 10 days.

But it will not achieve its aims; the resistance movement remained active through more than 35 years of occupation because of the absence of a political solution to the Palestinian question.

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