Gazans attempt a return home after Cease-Fire takes hold

Gaza and Hamas: Where are we going? What will we do next? How will we go back to Gaza? The Israeli Embassy in Gaza

A total of 230 trucks carrying humanitarian aid, medicine and fuel were scheduled to go in on Friday through the Egyptian border, said Wael Abu Omar, a spokesman for the Gaza side of the Rafah crossing.

“We do a lot in order to prevent and, where possible, minimize the killing or wounding of civilians,” said Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, an Israeli military spokesman. “We focus on Hamas.”

Communication in Gaza has been difficult since the early days of the war after Israel bombed a telecommunications tower; it has occasionally been plunged into near-total phone and internet blackouts, either because of Israeli disruptions or a lack of fuel.

People are looking for remains of their family members. They didn’t know what happened to their relatives when they lost all contact.

Even those who know their homes have been destroyed by Israeli airstrikes want to return to see what they can find or salvage from the rubble, she said.

Nayrouz Qarmout, a Palestinian author from the north of Gaza City, left with her family a few weeks ago. She said they were trying to figure out if they could come back.

Video posted by local journalists in Gaza showed hundreds of Palestinians carrying bags and bedding items and walking along roads in the southern city of Khan Younis heading to homes in other parts of southern Gaza, at least temporarily.

Palestinians were shot and killed by the Israeli military while trying to go back to their homes. But it said its forces were “stationed along the designated operational lines of the pause” in accordance with the agreement.

The skies above the besieged territory were free of Israeli warplanes for the first day in seven weeks, a brief respite from what has amounted to one of the most intense bombardments of the 21st century. But as some tried to return home to northern Gaza from parts farther south on foot, Israeli forces on the ground opened fire on them, according to witnesses, an Egyptian official and some of those injured.

When the cease-fire in Gaza took effect early Friday morning, Palestinians across the Gaza Strip prepared to go back to the homes they fled to see if they were still intact, to check on relatives left behind and in some cases, to finally bury their dead.

An Egyptian official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly, described the same scene, saying an Israeli tank fired at a group of Palestinians at an Israeli checkpoint south of Gaza City on Friday morning and killed two people.

“Displacement of parts of Gaza’s civilian population is permitted only if required for the civilians’ security or imperative military reasons,” said Omar Shakir, the Israel and Palestine director at Human Rights Watch. IDP is a war crime, and the civilian population needs to be able to return as soon as possible.

The man, named Kareem al-Nasir, was one of thousands of Palestinians who were trying to return to their homes in the northern Gaza Strip. But as they tried to make their way along a road on foot, he said, Israeli forces nearby opened fire on them. Mr. al-Nasir said he was shot in the leg and is now unable to walk.

The Israeli military acknowledged that children, women and older people have been killed in Gaza, but said the death toll reported in Gaza could not be trusted. The military did not say how many people were in the campaign, but it did say that civilians weren’t the target.

Human rights groups have criticized U.S.-led attacks on Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan because of the high number of people killed in them.

It is not just the unrelenting scale of the strikes, which Israel put at more than 15,000 before reaching a brief cease-fire in recent days. The weaponry itself is also nature.

It is surprising that Israel has a policy of using very large weapons in dense urban areas.

A former senior intelligence analyst at the Pentagon and a military adviser for the Dutch organization Pax stated that it was beyond what he had seen in his career. To find a historical comparison for so many large bombs in such a small area, he said, we may “have to go back to Vietnam, or the Second World War.”

In fighting during this century, by contrast, U.S. military officials often believed that the most common American aerial bomb — a 500-pound weapon — was far too large for most targets when battling the Islamic State in urban areas like Mosul, Iraq, and Raqqa, Syria.

Given these underground networks — which the military says enabled Hamas to wage its deadly attacks on Oct. 7 — Israeli forces say they use the “smallest available ordnance” to achieve their strategic objectives in order to cause the “minimal adverse effect on civilians.”

Researchers point instead to the roughly 10,000 women and children reported killed in Gaza as an approximate — though conservative — measure of civilian deaths in the territory. International officials and experts who are familiar with the way the numbers are calculated say the numbers are reliable.

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