Monday, July 28

It's a Untasteful Eid for embattled Gaza

At this time of the year, streets of the Gaza Strip are usually busy with local residents spending the early hours of the first day of Eid al-Fitr outdoors for last-hour shopping or late-night outing. But it is different this year.
With Israeli warplanes flying overhead and the sounds of explosions and shelling echoing through the night, the streets of Gaza appeared gloomy and quiet during the early hours of the Eid day with no activity whatsoever.
"You would not find any Palestinian celebrating the advent of Eid al-Fitr this year," Hossam al-Ranteesi, a 32-year-old cab driver, told Anadolu Agency.
"Scenes of death and destruction and the smell of blood are everywhere in Gaza's streets, and the Israeli shelling is still ongoing. There is no celebration for us this year," he added.
Israel has been pounding the Gaza Strip - which has been reeling under a crippling Israeli blockade since 2006 - from air, ground and sea since July 7, leaving 1034 dead and 6233 injured and destroying hundreds of homes.
Israel claims that the military offensive aims at undermining the ability of Gaza's resistance movements to launch rocket attacks.
Apart from the human toll, Israel also destroyed 2330 Gaza housing units and partially destroyed 23,160 other apartment blocks, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Works and Housing.
"Life here has stopped by the Israeli war," al-Ranteesi, who was heading to a western Gaza City hospital to visit his wounded son, told AA.
"Everyone fears that they might be the next target of the Israeli airstrikes. That's why no one goes out, except for emergency and only during daytime," he added.
Nearby, a group of Palestinian youths, displaced by the Israeli shelling of Shujaya neighborhood in eastern Gaza City, gathered at the garden of a U.N. school that provides them with shelter for a chat in a bid to forget their woes.
"This is our first time to spend the Eid without any celebration," Khaled al-Beltagi, 25, told AA. "In the past Eids, we used to spend the night at the markets and cafes until the morning," he said.
"We don't feel any joy this year. Everyone here has their share of the grief. Some had their family members killed, others had their homes destroyed," he went on to say.
"There is a tragedy at every house. How do you expect us to celebrate?"
Images by Anadolu Agency

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