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Israel-Gaza: Palestinian family left homeless after strikes

Kamal Nabhan was screaming as he thrust the phone into his cousin's hands, unable to believe what the anonymous caller was telling him.

The men had just got ready to go to afternoon prayers in Jabalia refugee camp. But the routine patterns of life were about to give way to violent destruction, wrought from above with a warning call.

Kamal's cousin Ataf reached out to his relative.

"I took the phone from him and talked to the person on the line," says Ataf. "He said he was from Israeli intelligence, and you have five minutes to evacuate the house."

They began to rush back, telling the Israeli caller he must be mistaken because the building "was full" of disabled people. "[The intelligence officer] said: 'No, immediately evacuate the house,'" says Ataf.

It was day five of the fiercest Israeli air strikes on Gaza in nine months. The campaign of so-called targeted assassinations killed at least six leading figures in Islamic Jihad, the Palestinian territory's second most powerful militant organisation.

But the attacks also killed 10 civilians on the first night alone - including wives and children of some of the men targeted as they slept. The group retaliated with waves of rocket attacks on Israeli cities, forcing tens of thousands to take cover in bomb shelters.

Israel said it was acting after repeated rounds of rocket fire by Islamic Jihad, which in turn said it had fired because of police raids against Palestinians at al-Aqsa mosque in occupied east Jerusalem, and the recent death in Israeli jail of hunger striker Khader Adnan.


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