Palestinians took advantage of a 72-hour cease-fire to return to their devastated homes and inspect the damage on Wednesday. Cars and donkey carts loaded with household goods and mattresses filled Gaza's streets and lines formed at banks as people waited to withdraw cash from ATMs. Crews from utility companies worked frantically to repair downed electricity and telephone lines, though with Gaza's only electrical generating plant badly damaged by an Israeli attack, it may be a long while before anything resembling normal service is restored.
Small groups of civilians made their way over buckled roads, through dangling power lines and overturned trees to inspect their neighborhoods. Along the way, rows of flattened buildings alternated with moderately damaged structures — and rare buildings with no damage at all. In the devastated Shijaiyah neighborhood east of Gaza city, carpenter Mahmoud Al Maghani, 44, surveyed the damage to his property. "I think my workshop was here, but honestly I can't make sure of that," he said. "I came yesterday and all I found was rubble."
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