Gaza City – Palestinians woke up on Wednesday to take stock of the extensive destruction caused by a night of continuous Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip.
Demonstrations against the death in Israeli custody of activist and hunger striker Khader Adnan had roiled the West Bank and Gaza Strip on Tuesday.
Rockets had been fired towards Israel from Gaza in response to news of Adnan’s death, and more were launched in response to the Israeli bombardment, which damaged multiple areas, including al-Safina, al-Baydar and near the al-Zaytoun neighbourhood.
Early on Wednesday, a Palestinian died from wounds suffered in an Israeli air attack northwest of Gaza City, medical sources confirmed. Hashel Mubarak al-Swerki, a 58-year-old father of 11, died after he was severely injured by shrapnel.
Five other people suffered shrapnel wounds from Israeli missiles east of Beit Hanoun in the north of the besieged strip.
Mediators from Qatar, Egypt and the United Nations intervened to broker a return to calm from 4am (01:00 GMT) on Wednesday, sources from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Gaza’s governing Hamas and other Palestinian officials said.
Al-Swerki’s 17-year-old son, Adam, told Al Jazeera that his father was sleeping when their home was shaken by an Israeli bombardment that hit an empty lot nearby.
“The bombing was so intense that big rocks broke through our zinc roof and fell right on my father’s chest while he was sleeping,” the teenager said. “We immediately took him to the hospital.”
His father suffered internal bleeding and died early on Wednesday.
“My father is a very kind and simple person, and we are simple people living in very difficult conditions. I can’t believe it,” Adam said as the family prepared for the funeral.
Rula al-Aqraa, 45, from Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, said she, her husband and their five children were woken up by a bombardment near their house.
“My children woke up screaming … terrified,” she said.
The bombing damaged al-Aqraa’s house, which was already damaged by previous attacks.
“Our house is very worn out,” she said. “There has been bombardment around my house several times, and it’s been damaged more than once. Now it’s become very poor and unfit for living.”