Gaza pummeled in Israeli assault | Lebanon, a possible second front | Families of Hamas captives in fear. Here’s the Middle East this week:
Bombs dropping on Gaza around the clock
The Israeli army is bombing the Gaza Strip day and night in revenge for a surprise attack launched by Hamas on Saturday.
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Attacks have hit schools used as civilian shelters, residential buildings, and health facilities.
What hospitals still work are overwhelmed by wailing parents bringing in their wounded children.
In Gaza’s refugee camps, where Palestinian refugees from other cities live in poverty, frequent Israeli missile attacks have killed many and made many others homeless.
In a classroom in the occupied West Bank, 12-year-old Lina is accustomed to war and to having to rush home at midday. “I don’t have feelings. I don’t care if I die,” she says.
The terrifying view from Gaza
The nights are the worst in Gaza, “for what Israel does to us during its long, dark hours”, writes filmmaker Ruwaida Amer.
Hamas strategy vs Israeli military might
Hamas’s incursion into Israel surprised many, its strategy, planning and training beyond what many experts anticipated.
Yet its weaponry pales in comparison to the US-funded Israeli army, an army whose arsenal also includes “bunker busters” – powerful bombs ostensibly used against underground targets that end up damaging buildings around them.
Lebanon, another front of war?
There are fears in neighbouring Lebanon that the war in Israel and Gaza could spill over – on the other hand, Palestinian factions in Lebanon are eager to open a second front against Israel if Hezbollah leads the charge.
But most Lebanese are weary; and others, too accustomed to conflict.
“If there has to be a war, then there will be a war. Do you know how many wars we have been through since I have been alive? We are used to it,” Ahmed Ali told Al Jazeera.
Hamas captives’ families in agony
Meanwhile, the families of Hamas’s captives worry endlessly as they grapple with the knowledge that Israel’s retaliation may cost their loved ones’ lives.
The hostages taken by Hamas are not just Israelis, but also dual nationals and citizens of more than 20 countries.
And elsewhere in the region this week
Of all the things he’s found in the blue Mediterranean waters of Libya’s city of Derna, the vacant-eyed children’s bodies haunt Bashir Saqr El-Hassi the most.
The Libyan coastguard diver is from the nearby city of Sousa, part of a squadron left to find missing bodies after international relief teams have largely left Libya.
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Quote of the Week
“They’ve sent a warning notice to the Hiji building just now that it will be bombed.” | From a recording by Palestinian journalist Saeed al-Taweel, editor-in-chief of Al-Khamsa News website, shortly before being killed in Gaza.