Gaza attacks: Fear, finality, and farewells as bombs rained down

As a ceasefire in Gaza takes hold, stories of fear, resignation, and survival are emerging from the besieged territory.

Video Transcript

HARRY FAWCETT: Sultan Al-Masri was wounded in the first minutes of this conflict. His pain has barely begun. He spent five days in a coma and has now had four major operations on life changing injuries. But Sultan isn't yet fully awake to how much his world has changed. His family is keeping it from him.

INTERPRETER: I was on the street, we were hit with a rocket, myself and my cousin. We fell down.

HARRY FAWCETT: Sultan hasn't been told that the blast also killed his brother, Ahmed, and Sultan's only child, 15-month-old Yazan. Family members say they could see the rocket flying directly towards them, low to the ground. Out here in the street is where Sultan sustained his injuries.

This is the precise place where that Israeli munition came in and exploded. He was among a group of his extended family who were playing here, putting hay in sacks. And in an instant, eight of them lost their lives, seven of them children.

That was among the first Israeli strikes of the conflict. This was among the last. The family home, hit on Thursday night, hours before the ceasefire took effect. Meters from that impact, Sultan's cousin sits with his father. Mohammed lost an eye in the same attack, but everyone is most worried about Sultan.


INTERPRETER: He's emotional. He loves his son too much and his brothers. His soul is with them. We are afraid that something might happen to him. His injuries are so serious.

HARRY FAWCETT: Gaza's main hospital is full of personal tragedies and exhausted staff.


INTERPRETER: Too many people couldn't come to the hospital during the war. Normal injuries, diabete sufferers, those with high blood pressure, they couldn't reach the hospital. And the ambulances couldn't reach them because of the damaged roads.

HARRY FAWCETT: Medical equipment and fuel are just starting to get in. But the hospitals need regular electricity and clean water, infrastructure that needs rebuilding. Throughout the strip, the destruction of this most recent war is creating grim new landmarks, to go alongside those of the previous war and the one before that. So much never rebuilt.

LYNN HASTINGS: Everybody is saying it should not be business as usual. You know the definition of insanity. Doing the same things with the same bad results. We don't want to go down there again. How we manage that, it comes down to political will, by everybody, to recognize that we just can't continue this way.

HARRY FAWCETT: For years, this has been the way in Gaza. Life getting steadily more difficult, more hopeless. Promises of change have come before and gone before. Gaza's people long accustomed to making what they can of things among the ruins. Harry Fawcett, Al Jazeera, Northern Gaza.