A Gaza diary

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The Independent Online

Sunday 18 January

For the first time the children played games, but we still had no power or water. Some trucks arrived with vegetables from our farms, but in the streets only a few shops were open, and prices were very high.

Monday 19 January

It was nice to go back and sleep where we were supposed to. But we were still afraid and didn't sleep that much. I went to work and I saw destruction everywhere. Almost 100 bodies were taken out of the rubble. It was terrifying.

Tuesday 20 January

Step by step, life began to return to normal. There are no long queues for bread like there used to be. We still suffered from shortage of power and water. But what made me relax was that I could see companies renovating the lines. Beit Lahiya has been destroyed and so has Tel Al Hawa. There were no streets untouched by the destruction. I won't forget the scenes I witnessed today. It was a black day.

Wednesday 21 January

We got power and water. My daughter Nour went for a walk. This hasn't happened for a long time. Life is coming back but you can't forget and you can't forgive. I went to Rafah, where the tunnels were. All the homes there are destroyed. Ninety per cent of the tunnels have been bombed but they are still bringing in petrol. And the people are working to rebuild them. But the homes – there's nothing left. It was easier to be inside during the war than to go out and see this.

Thursday 22 January

I went to the burns department in Shifa hospital. I've never seen anything like this in my life. These phosphorus burns. Their bodies were black. One person has stitches everywhere. It's worse than killing people. They look like the living dead. I also went to the north, to Beit Lahiya. This was one of the most beautiful areas of farmland. Now it's gone, you can't recognise the place. I wanted to cry.

Friday 23 January

People are expecting the next war to be much worse. We never expected something like this, on this scale of devastation. They didn't affect Hamas. It's the citizens who have paid the price.

Saturday 24 January

For the first time, Gaza was full of cars and activity. I woke up and watched the news and started the day with an internet connection. All my children went back to school except Ibrahim. He was in the school that was next to the police station that was bombed. He is still very afraid. I went back to my favourite fish restaurant. When I saw the owner, we embraced like I had been away in another country. That's what it's like when you meet people now. They say, "Thank God you're well. Thank God you are alive."