Smoke and debris fill the air during an Israeli strike on Gaza City early yesterday. Photo: AFP
Not a stone is left standing at the Najjar family home in southern Gaza. Friday it was a three-storey building, yesterday medics dug 22 bodies of out the crater where it once stood.
The scene was one repeated across the Gaza Strip yesterday, as desperate residents ventured out during a fragile 12-hour truce only to be met with evidence of death and destruction on a scale that reduced men to tears.
Palestinian women react amid the destruction in the district. Photo: AFP
The Najjar family home was decimated in the final hours before the truce, in an Israeli air strike that killed at least 16 members of the family as well as others in their home and surrounding buildings.
Hussein al-Najjar looked at the rubble-strewn crater where his relatives took their last breaths early yesterday.
Palestinians stand on an Israeli military equipment, which was left behind by Israeli forces during the ground offensive, east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip yesterday. A 12-hour truce between Israel and Hamas entered into force with emergency workers taking advantage of the lull to uncover dozens of bodies from the rubble of Gaza homes. They took the overall Palestinian death toll in the 19-day conflict over 1,000. Photo: AFP
From southern Gaza to the north, the pain was the same, as families returned to find their homes ground into rubble by relentless Israeli tank fire and air strikes.
In eastern Shejaiya, which saw some of the worst of the bombardment, entire blocks were erased, and there were macabre spots where human limbs could be seen emerging from the rubble.
Palestinians walk on the rubble as they enter the northern district of Beit Hanun to check their homes. Photo: AFP
Elsewhere in Shejaiya, normally home to 130,000 people, a man wore a mask to cover the stench of death as dust-covered bodies, some caked in dried blood, were carried away.
Corpses had rotted in the heat as continuous firing made it impossible for ambulances to retrieve the dead.
In Beit Hanun in the north, people braved Israeli army warnings not to return to their homes, and streets with trails of blood were criss-crossed by Israeli army tank tracks.
Around 10,000 demonstrators march through the streets of London yesterday calling for an end to violence in Gaza. Photo: AFP
Medics said they had uncovered at least 100 bodies in the debris across Gaza, many of them charred and some stiff with rigor mortis.
For those who could, the 12-hour ceasefire was a chance to stock on up supplies that have run low in 19 days of devastating war between Israel and the Hamas movement.
Rioters clash with cops in Paris during a banned demonstration against Israel's military operation in Gaza. Photo: AFP
Parents and children rushed out into Gaza City to buy food and gas canisters, or just to experience the feeling of walking outside without fear for the first time in nearly three weeks.
No one was sure whether the fighting would resume after the ceasefire, so residents hurried to prepare the dead, and to bury them while they could.