Gazans Struggle to Live Amid Israeli Airstrikes

The inside of the Wahab family's house after it was destroyed by an airstrike in Gaza on July 10. NBC News

Amid the smoke and rubble left behind by yet another Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip, Ali Abdel Wahab and his family returned Thursday to what remains of their home to sift through the debris.

They came to grab food they can't afford to leave behind and heart medicine for Wahab's father.

The multistory building, which was rendered uninhabitable, was next door to the home of a suspected Hamas militant, which was targeted and nearly leveled by an Israeli strike. The militant wasn't around, but his neighbors, Wahab and his family, were home when the missile hit in the middle of the night.

After a warning shot, the following strike hit the building next door, as the family scrambled to escape. Because Gaza is so densely populated, any strike on a building is likely to have an impact on neighboring buildings.


Despite the stifling heat, Wahab covered himself in cushions and pillows to feel safe. His extended family all lived in the building, which was home to more than 30 children alone.

Wahab managed to rescue his 20-year-old pregnant sister-in-law, Esslam, amid the chaos.

But the shock proved too strong for the young mother-to-be, who miscarried and lost her baby shortly after. Esslam had spent three years and thousands of dollars trying to get pregnant. She still had her first sonogram and a lab test with a handwritten note from the doctor that said, "Congratulations."

Wahab and his family, who are now scattered across Gaza taking refuge with neighbors and relatives, are among the hundreds of displaced residents affected by the conflict, as neither side is showing sign of stopping the ongoing strikes.

The Israeli military said 170 rockets were launched from Gaza Thursday, 120 of which landed in Israel, while 24 were intercepted by the country's missile defense system. Israel carried out more than 110 attacks in Gaza beginning in the morning hours Thursday. The military said it struck more than 900 targets since the operation began Tuesday.

At least 90 people have been killed in Gaza, including dozens of civilians. No Israelis have been killed in the attacks, as Israelis rushed to bomb shelters upon hearing warning sirens in major cities. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged an immediate cease-fire.


Ayman Mohyeldin contributed from Gaza City and Becky Bratu from New York