News Producer Describes Situation Inside Gaza
Ahmed Abu Hamda, a news producer for foreign news organizations, including NPR, says Gaza City is a ghost city with very few people outside. Most have already stocked up on supplies for fear the Israeli attacks will get worse.
"People are panicking over here," Hamda tells NPR's Melissa Block. "They are afraid from the news talking about invasion. And, also, they are afraid to go down later on. So they prepare to buy everything at once."
Hamda says that on Monday Israeli airstrikes began shortly after midnight and continued almost constantly until between 6:30 a.m. and 7 a.m.
"After that it was somehow a little bit calm," he says.
Hamda says, however, that to the north and south of the Gaza Strip, Israel attacked houses belonging to members of Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamist group Hamas, which controls Gaza.
He says that to stay safe, people are staying home and choosing parts of the house away from potential Israeli targets. It's a tip he and his wife follow.
"Usually, I sleep with my wife to the room in the corner, far away to the east of my flat, far away from the windows," Hamda says. "She's even pregnant. I cannot even protect my wife.
"It's really horrible and so confusing for everyone here in Gaza."
He says many people are now discussing a possible ground invasion of Gaza and have mixed feelings about such a move. Some are afraid of a possible land invasion while others are hoping for one, he says.
"They hope that the militants and the resistance here in Gaza will take the revenge from the Israeli army when they are on the ground," Hamda says.
Hamda adds that there is some criticism of Hamas, but overwhelmingly people have united against Israel's actions. He says that they tell him, "Now is not the time to discuss who is to blame — whether Hamas or Fatah or Israel — Israel is our enemy and we have to stand against them."
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