Photos and text: Anne Paq, Basel Yazouri / Activestills.org
Tens of thousands of Palestinians returned to their homes across the Gaza Strip on July 26, after a 40-hour humanitarian ceasefire was agreed to between Israel and Hamas. Over 200,000 Gazans have been displaced since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge, due to Israeli airstrikes across the Strip. The ceasefire came to an end on Sunday morning after rockets exploded in Israeli territory overnight, and Israel’s refusal to agree to an extension offered by Hamas.
The airstrikes destroyed homes, UN schools and hospitals last week, leaving a trail of devastation and bodies buried underneath the rubble. In places such as Shujaiyeh, and Abasan, Gazans spent the day digging for bodies and belongings in the rubble of their former homes.
However some locations, such as Beit Hanoun and Khuza’a, were out of reach for Palestinians. The dozens of residents of Khuza’a who fled the village, were fired at when they tried to return. Some residents are still trapped under the remains of houses, cut off from the outside world.