Gaza City – “Mom, is this a bombing or an earthquake?”
This was the first question asked by the children of Amira al-Dreamly when they woke up terrified in the morning to the sound of the Israeli bombardment in the middle of the Gaza Strip.
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The 36-year-old mother of five told Al Jazeera the sudden Israeli attack on Thursday took place in their area for the third week in a row, each time distressing her and her kids, who would wake up crying.
“My children are also still affected by the scenes of earthquakes in Turkey and Syria two weeks ago, which were felt by the residents of Gaza,” said al-Dreamly.
“I find it difficult to reassure them, especially since the Israeli missiles are concussive and make the house shake strongly.
“Our hearts are tired in Gaza. We live on our nerves, and we do not know what might happen from one moment to the next. We are waiting for war every moment.”
The situation for Salama Younes and his family is no different. They wake up terrified to the sounds of violent shelling near their house in Al-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip.
The 30-year-old said the Israeli bombing usually targets areas close to the camps “with the aim of spreading terror among civilians and children”.
“The sound of explosions is very terrifying and there is always an excuse that it is bombing military sites, but it always chooses quiet times during the early morning or late night hours near residential areas,” Younes told Al Jazeera.
“What is happening greatly affects our psyche, especially since it is repeated on an almost weekly basis.
“Instead of starting our morning quietly, we start with smoke, terrifying explosions, anxiety and crying of children. It has become unbearable and puts us in a state of constant anxiety.”
Earlier on Thursday, Israeli warplanes launched a series of air strikes on sites belonging to the Palestinian resistance in Gaza, in response to rockets launched from Gaza towards surrounding settlements.
‘Despite the massacres’
Israeli media outlets reported about six missiles were launched from Gaza.
According to local sources, Israeli planes bombed a military site belonging to the Qassam Brigades, the military arm of Hamas, northwest of Gaza City, where the bombing resulted in damage to the site and the surrounding area.
The Israeli planes also attacked a military site in Al-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip.
In response to the Israeli bombardment, Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem told Al Jazeera: “The resistance in the Gaza Strip will always be present to defend our people, and it monitors every detail of the Israeli crime against the Palestinian people in the West Bank and confirms that its patience is running out.
“Our people in all arenas will continue their revolution despite the massacres by the Israeli occupation, and our response to the aggression will continue.”
Israeli aircraft launched a series of strikes on the Gaza Strip on the morning of February 13, firing eight missiles at a resistance site located in the south.
The bombing led to the destruction of the Hollywood Beach studio, used for filming special events such as weddings. The venue was completely destroyed, with losses amounting to $15,000.
“This is the third time Israeli planes have targeted the studio since it was opened two years ago,” its owner, photographer Muhammad Nassar, 28, told Al Jazeera.
“I do not know the reason for the bombing of this studio. Its location is known to all in the Gaza Strip, and to those who deal with the profession of filming events.”
Nassar said a week after the bombing, he was able to repair a bit of what was destroyed so work could resume.
“This place is the only source of income for me and four other people. The continuous shelling has cost us many losses without any compensation. Here I am suffering losses for the third time, and it probably won’t be the last.”
The Palestinian territories have witnessed heightened tension since the beginning of the year, the latest coming from the killing of 11 Palestinians in an Israeli raid on the city of Nablus in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday.
The deadly incursion sparked anger throughout Palestine, and a general strike that included businesses, schools, and government institutions was announced to mourn the victims.
Faced with the constant threat of violence, residents of the Gaza Strip live in a state of constant apprehension, imminently expecting war to break out as the situation in the occupied West Bank worsens and attacks escalate.
Gaza-based political analyst Reham Owda told Al Jazeera that what happened in Nablus is “a practical implementation of one of the decisions of the Israeli cabinet” after an attack on a synagogue last month.
It includes “the continuation of the Israeli army’s operations against Palestinian resistance in the West Bank”, she said.
Owda said she does not expect Wednesday’s raid to be the last, and she believes the situation in the occupied West Bank will escalate, especially with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan upcoming.
As for Gaza, Owda noted that Palestinian armed groups have used a policy of restraint by firing small bursts of rockets after attacks as a warning to Israel and not with the aim of escalation.
“The resistance in Gaza is aware that the firing of rocket barrages is a temporary tactical measure used at times to identify and warn Israel not to persist in killing and destruction in the West Bank, and at other times as a symbol of moral support for the resistance fighters in the West Bank,” she said.
“Therefore, the focus will be on the West Bank and the main battlefield is the West Bank, knowing there is no division in the resistance action between the West Bank and Gaza.”