Living under Israeli Fire

By Ola Attallah – Gaza

"Nobody dares to step out of the house," says an anguished Palestinian mother in the bombed-out Gaza Strip.

The life of Abu Anas Al-Banna, his wife and their ten children has been confined to the walls of their small house in Gaza city.

They are imprisoned in their own home, just like many other families in Gaza.

The children stopped attending school, and the father stopped going to work or even praying at the mosque.

They fear the Israeli death which has been haunting the impoverished coastal enclave since Saturday and has already claimed more than 414 lives.

Al-Banna family spends the day shaking to the deafening sound of massive explosions resulting from Israeli strikes, now in their sixth day.

The anguished parents jump to their toes every time one of their children comes close to a window or dares open the door to take a peek at the deserted streets.

"We are terrified to death," said the wife, holding tight to her three-year-old son, Sami, who does not stop crying.

"I want to scream of panic myself, but I can’t. I have to stay strong for my children, or else what will become of them."

The helpless father gathers his family and they join together in supplication.

"Neither scream nor tears would save us," he tells them.

"Pray. Prayers are the only weapons left for us."

Dreadful Nights

Even the sunset brings no comfort to the Al-Banna family.

"I get really scared at night," whispers Lina, the 14-year-old daughter, in a corner of her bed.

Her brother Anas, still terrified hours after a massive Israeli bombardment on their neighborhood, shivers by her side.

"I can’t feel anything any more. I have lost all my senses."

The children used to sleep in separate rooms.

But since the beginning of the Israeli onslaught, their father decided that the whole family should sleep in one room.

They had to carefully choose which room of the house would be least vulnerable any Israeli strike.

"We chose to sleep in a room with no widows at the farthest corner of the ground floor," said the father who keeps a first aid kit at hand.

Yet, almost none of the family member gets a full night sleep.

The children cover their faces and put their fingers in their ears to avoid the thundering sound of the Israeli strikes.

"Every time, it’s like bidding farewell to each other. We never know if we will survive for another day."

– Ola Attallah is a correspondent for in Gaza. (Originally published in

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