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Gaza residents describe their horror as Israeli forces bombard city: "There is no safe place"

Israel continues strikes in Gaza
Israel continues strikes on Gaza following Hamas assault 04:26

Palestinians across the heavily bombarded Gaza Strip have described their horror as the Israeli military continued to hammer the area in the aftermath of the Hamas militant group's bloody incursion into the Jewish state over the weekend. 

Gaza City was pummeled by aerial bombardments on Tuesday as Israel Defense Forces continued to carry out the first phase of their retaliation for Saturday's unprecedented attacks.

PALESTINIAN-ISRAEL-CONFLICT
A fireball erupts from an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City on October 9, 2023. MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty

Israeli airstrikes on Tuesday hit the Rafah border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt — the only exit point for Palestinians fleeing the city of Gaza, Reuters news agency reported, citing Palestinian officials and Egyptian security sources. 

On Monday, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant had ordered a "complete siege" of the city.

"Nothing is allowed in or out. There will be no fuel, electricity or food supplies," he said in a statement. "We fight animals in human form and proceed accordingly."  

CBS News spoke to residents of Gaza on Tuesday who gave a grim account of the increasingly desperate conditions that ordinary people were facing on the ground as Israel tightened its long-standing blockade of the Palestinian territory. Hamas would hold sole responsibility for the impact of the blockade on civilians, Israeli authorities have said. 

"There are no shelters or bunkers or safe routes or safe zones in Gaza. So it's not like you can sit down and plan with your family on how to leave or a safe place to go to," local resident Omar Ghraieb told CBS News over the phone. 

"We are a family of five people and these unfortunate events unfolded so very fast... We didn't really have enough time to actually stock up enough on food, medicine and water," Ghraeib said. "We are having three to four hours of electricity every 24 hours." 

Ghraieb and his family are among the more than 200,000 people the U.N. says have been displaced from their homes in this latest cycle of violence. 

It's a process that has become all too familiar for Ghraeib and his family. 

"We've been through this so many times," he said. "You prepare your emergency kit or bag. You put all the medicine and food you have in one bag, some clothes or your identification documents and any valuables or electronics that you have." 

Palestinian journalist Hassan Jaber told CBS News that there is a scarcity in access to bomb shelters or safe terrain to protect civilians from the aerial strikes. "There is no safe place in Gaza," he said. 

Jaber also said that some residents of the city could face starvation within "days."  

"There is no electricity, there is no water," he said. "This is inhuman to let people die from the lack of food and water."

mayor-gaza.jpg
The Mayor of Gaza Dr Yehya Al Saraj (pictured) told CBS News that whole sections of the city have been leveled by Israeli Defense Forces On Tuesday. October 10th, 2023  CBS News

The mayor of Gaza, Dr. Yehya Al Sarraj, told CBS News that whole sections of the city have been leveled by Israeli Defense Forces. 

"This last aggression on residential buildings and commercial buildings, on civilians, is very indiscriminate," he said. "They killed a lot of people. They destroyed total areas, they have been ripped out of the ground."

Access to any remaining clean water has been complicated by the fact that parts of waste management infrastructure in Gaza have been destroyed, the mayor said. 

"We cannot provide necessary things to people and we don't know exactly how we can manage during the coming days," Al Saraj told CBS News. 

Omar Ghraieb finished his phone call with a message for the international community as Gaza faced yet more devastation. 

"I hope to see a world that is more empathetic, more equal, more fair, and would treat everybody equal and would recognize Palestinian life as a life that really matters, exists and deserves life," Ghraieb said. 

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