Israel-Gaza conflict: Families search for a place of safety from the violence, but the frontline is everywhere in Gaza

The Shamali family has been subjected to military strikes three times, in different locations, on three consecutive days

Gaza City

A body hung, caught in a white bedsheet, from the fifth floor of what was left of Salam Towers this afternoon. It was of a woman, one of 11 killed when two missiles slammed into the high-rise building in the centre of Gaza City on Monday night. The emergency services were still trying to retrieve the remains without sending huge chunks of the precarious structure crashing down.

Among the dead were 53 year old Ibrahim Kelani, his wife Teghreed and five children, aged between four and 12. They had sought shelter in the building just the day before from their home in Shujaiya, a devastated town where more than 100 people had died in prolonged and vicious fighting, including six Israeli soldiers. A seventh, Sergeant Oron Shaul, is missing, captured, claims Hamas, by its fighters.

The family were German citizens. At Shifa Hospital, standing outside the morgue, Ibrahim's brother, Saleh Kelani was bitter about what he saw as Western double standards over the conflict. “Why do we hear nothing from Germany, they held German passports, where are the protests from Germany, from Angela Merkel, about these killings? When Israelis are killed then the whole world, Europe, America are full of concern? But for this, there is nothing.

Video: The latest from Gaza
Read more: Two US cancel flights to Israel
ISRAEL DESTROYS FIVE MOSQUES AS PRESSURE FOR CEASEFIRE GROWS
HAMAS CELEBRATES 'KIDNAP' OF ISRAELI SOLDIER
MP SPARKS CONTROVERSY BY BACKING HAMAS ROCKET ATTACKS

“We are so upset, the family came here thinking they had got away from danger, now they are gone. Why did they bomb this place, there are no fighters here.

The Kelanis were among many in Gaza who thought they had reached a place of safety, away from the frontline, only to find the frontline was everywhere in Gaza.

 

The Shamalis, also from Shujaiya, had been subjected to military strikes three times, in different locations, on three consecutive days. They watched their home crumble behind them from tank shells as they left just before six on Sunday morning after a night of gunfire and bombs.

The family arrived in Gaza City, to stay with relations at an apartment block, Dawur Towers, after a fraught journey. It was hit by missiles on Monday evening, killing eight people and injuring a dozen others, among them 21 year old Mohammed Shamali. The rest of the family moved on to other relations, at Al Yazhy Tower. That was hit at five this morning, leaving 20 wounded and dozens more homeless.

Mourning relatives of the Kelani family cry as they attend the funeral in Beit Lahiya, Gaza (EPA) Mourning relatives of the Kelani family cry as they attend the funeral in Beit Lahiya, Gaza (EPA)
“Where do we go now?” Asked Ibithan Shamali, her forehead bandaged from shrapnel in the second attack. “All the [UN] shelters are full, our relations are also without homes now. We shall have to find somewhere to rent; I don't know what will happen if we can't do that.”

Her son Mohammed, lying in a ward in Shifa Hospital, with wounds to his stomach, chest and back, winced with pain as he smiled: “I think I am the only one who is guaranteed a bed. I supposed I am lucky because I only went through two bombings, not three.

“But seriously, I think I am very lucky to be alive, so many people died there. I was lying on a bed which fell through the floor from the third to the second floor. There was smoke everywhere and I became unconscious.

“I feel very angry about what's happening to us, seeing children getting hurt, killed, in Shujayia; my mother getting hurt after coming here. I used to work at the US consulate in Jerusalem in the past, I liked the Americans, they had good education programmes. But, when it comes to politics, they always back Israel against us. Why don't they ask the Israelis why they are asking us to move from our homes and then bombing us after we do?”

Shaadi Nasr Warshagha, in hospital after coming under missile strike Shaadi Nasr Warshagha, in hospital after coming under missile strike
Mohammed Abu Eyada, also 21, lay on the next bed. He had been evacuated from a refugee camp in central Gaza, which had come under attack on Saturday, to Al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah. “There were lots of people, it was very crowded, but we felt since this was a hospital, we will be alright staying there until there is a ceasefire” he recounted.

On Monday afternoon the management received orders from the Israeli military to evacuate patients and staff. While this was being organised the building was hit by three tank shells, killing five people and injuring 70 others, including 32 medics. “There was a lot of confusion, people were asking 'why do we have to leave the hospital? Why do they want to attack?' Then there were the explosions and I was thrown to the ground”, said Mr Eyada, who has cuts to his arms and body.

Video: UN Security Council discuss Israel-Palestine crisis

The Israeli military said they were investigating the matter. They are said to believe that Hamas used the hospital to store weapons. “That is what they say about the camps when they attack them”, said Mr Eyada. “Now they are saying this about hospitals.”

On the next bed lay Shaadi Nasr Warshagha, severely injured, clutching the hands of two brothers, his mother Hekmat and father Nasr watching anxiously. Their home, in the northern town of Beit Lahiya, was damaged when a neighbour's was targeted by warplanes on Saturday morning.

 

Later that afternoon, 28-year-old Shaadi went to the town centre to arrange alternative accommodation when a missile landed, injuring half a dozen people. He rushed over to help: there was a second strike, catching him and others. His father, Nasr, said : “I am proud of my son because he wanted to rescue people who had been injured. He wanted us to move to a safer area and he had found places; he said the damage could be repaired later. Then this happened; as you can see he is badly injured, but, Inshallah, he'll recover.

“Some of the family, his mother, will stay with him at the hospital, but I will go back with the others to our home. We want to make sure it is alright, also, since we have been to Gaza City there have been a lot of bombings, Monday evening was really bad. We are here because of Shaadi; otherwise there is nothing to be gained by staying here. People are saying there is nowhere safe in Gaza, and that is true."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Cleaner

£15000 - £16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you've got first class custo...

Recruitment Genius: Mobile Applications Developer / Architect - iOS and Android

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a medium s...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Account Executive - £40K OTE

£11830 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working in a friendly, sales ta...

Recruitment Genius: Web Designer

£15000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most