In the heaviest round of fighting since 2014, Israel and Hamas engaged in 11 days of deadly conflict in early May. In Israel, 12 people were killed, two of them children. In Gaza, more than 200 Palestinians were killed, including 65 children. Ameera Harouda, freelance journalist and producer in Gaza City, talks to Yahoo News about the vast destruction and damage done as a result of the latest violence.
AMEERA HAROUDA: Very scary, very terrified. My children could not but during the night at all. We are thinking that, in any minute, one of us will be killed or attacked.
My name is Ameera Harouda and I'm freelance journalist, fixer, and a producer working with different foreign media in Gaza Strip in Palestine. For me and for my family, it wasn't like any other war I witnessed it before. I lived during 2008, 2012, 2014. To be honest, it's like a really crazy time for me. You know, the thing is that, this war this time was different. The sound of the bombing, you can hear the sound of the rocket coming towards you.
Several homes around my neighborhood get hit by a airstrike. And it's really terrifying, it's really scary during the night that some of them they get a phone call that they will hit their home. They're asking them to evacuate. Others, they did. They just hit the house directly, so like whole family is killed. So we find out that one of the families close to us is evacuate their homes, so we also evacuate our home because, you know, that house is very close to our house.
When I saw all these, you know, people hit and targeted and killed, the moment that I said, OK, I'm going to go back again to my house. If they were going to hit us, let's die in our home, not in another place. You feel that everything, everyone, anything in Gaza is like a target for the Israeli army.
To be honest, we do not feel it it's like a real agreement about ceasefire now in Gaza because you cannot see, like, something signed in the paper. We can hear still the sound of the drones above our head 24 hours. And we know they are, you know, like, observing and filming.
And, at the same time, when we were looking for the statements from different Israeli military persons, they are saying that-- asking the army to get ready for another escalation with the Gaza Strip. We don't feel that it's safe for us.
The thing is that you feel that you are targeted. Every day in the street working for journalists, I feel that it will be like the last day of my life. I don't think that there is a single word can express what I witnessed during these 11 days. When we are talking about this picture of little children, it stuck in my mind. I don't think I will forget them at all.
Many, many stories. There is this little boy. He's five months and his mother, she wants to protect him. And so to protect him, so she covered her body, you know, and she put him in her belly to cover him from the bombing. And the whole house completely destroyed. Four of his brother and sister killed, and he's the only survivor from the family.
Another story is about this little girl, Suzy. She's seven years old and they hit badly one of the streets. And this girl, she's taking care of her little brother under the rubble of the house. He's two years and he died with her. You know, she's holding him, he died, and she spent around 16 hours under the rubble until they find her.
So it's not easy. The bombing that they're using towards these places, it's unbelievable. You can hear the sound of the bombing. But at the same time, the damage after the explosion happen, it's something you cannot imagine, because it hit the ground deeply and it completely destroyed the whole house. Even if it's from a four or five building or even high.
Like, I went to different places all over Gaza Strip trying to cover as much as I can in story. And I talked to many people, like, you know, civilians, people on the ground. And most of them saying that there is no militant action from the area where they are. Like, they are saying correctly that if the Israeli side, if they have something in prove that there is a militant people in the area, then they can talk about it.
But I'm not defending this side or that side. But I'm defending the human people, you know? You are talking as a human person to them. Many civilians in Gaza, they are people looking for life, people looking for a better life, a better condition of living here in Gaza. They are not looking for a killing or places were it's destroyed. They are looking to provide better things for their families, better jobs.
We are talking about a terrible suffering already from COVID-19. We are talking about healthcare system is completely collapsed because of the blockade. We are talking about a shortage of medicine and equipment in Gaza. We are talking about people are not allowed to leave Gaza or to travel without Israeli permission. Goods cannot get to Gaza without the Israeli permission. A fisherman cannot go to the sea without Israeli permission.
So we are talking about more than two million people living in a very small place blocked from everywhere. You know, it's hard. It's difficult. But at the same time, there's people here in Gaza that still love live. They want to live a decent life like any other place in the world.