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Returning Gaza Civilians Find Scene Like an 'Earthquake Zone'

Image: Gaza-Israel truce takes effect after last-minute rockets, strikes
Palestinians on a horse cart drive past destroyed buildings on their way to their homes in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza Strip, on August 5, 2014. A 72-hour truce agreed between Israel and Hamas-led militant groups began at 8 a.m.OLIVER WEIKEN / EPA

Some of the half-million people displaced by a month of fierce fighting in Gaza began to return home Tuesday as a 72-hour truce got underway.

Carrying mattresses and with children in tow, Gazans left U.N. shelters to trek back to neighborhoods where entire blocks have been destroyed. Sitting on a pile of debris on the edge of the northern town of Beit Lahiya, Zuhair Hjaila, a 33-year-old father of four, said he had lost his house and his supermarket. "This is complete destruction," he said. "I never thought I would come back to find an earthquake zone."

Image: Displaced Palestinians leave a United Nations school in Beit Lahia
Displaced Palestinians leave a United Nations school in Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip to return to their homes on Tuesday, after a 72-hour cease-fire came into effect at 8 a.m. MOHAMMED ABED / AFP - Getty Images

— Reuters