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Gazans flee border areas, fearing Israeli ground invasion

But even inland areas are no haven as Israeli air strikes continue in Gaza. One strike today killed 11 civilians including six children in an attempt to kill a Hamas commander. 

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"My wife has asked me to leave the house since the offensive started, but I convinced her that there is no safe place in Gaza. And dying in our house is better than dying somewhere else," he says. But the thought of losing any of his children quickly changed his mind, he said.

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Hospitals overwhelmed, face shortages

As the number of wounded has increased, Gaza's hospitals have been overwhelmed. They were already stretched to the limit before the conflict began, because of Israel's blockade on the territory, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Now, they face critical shortages of drugs and medical supplies, according to the Hamas-run Ministry of Health. 

Health Minister Mufeed Mukghallati said the increasing number of wounded – more than 550 people – has been a major challenge for the medical personnel in Gaza. WHO said many of those injured have been admitted to hospitals with severe burns, injuries from collapsing buildings, and head injuries.

Amid the airstrikes and overflowing hospitals, residents face another difficulty – finding food. Since the offensive started, only a few food stores and supermarkets have opened their doors. Many markets and shops have remained closed, and only four bakeries are opening in Gaza City.

Crossings with Israel have been shut down, and smugglers using tunnels from Egypt – which have served as a key source of basic goods for the territory since Israel's blockade – stopped working for fear of bombardment.

In Gaza City, people lined up in front of bakeries and stores, trying to stock up on food supplies. "People expect the worst if a ground war starts, so they try to buy as much food as they can," says Tawfiq, as he waited in a long line to buy one pack of bread.

Appreciation for Hamas

Despite the fear of a ground war, some in Gaza hope that the exchange of rocket fire would continue, showing appreciation for Hamas fighters who "brought the occupation to its knees."

"I feel so proud that Hamas is humiliating Israel. Finally Hamas is doing what no Arab country could do, they are shelling Tev Aviv and Jerusalem," says Muahmmed Shurrab, who works as a web developer in Gaza City.

Mr. Shurrab, who does not belong to any political faction, added he is happy that that Palestinians have finally moved from a defensive posture to an offensive one. "We have negotiated with Israel for almost two decades, and negotiations were a big failure. Let's try this new strategy that will for sure oblige Israel to give some concessions," he adds.

Shurrab criticized those who accuse Hamas of bringing war upon Gaza, saying that Israel has occupied Palestine and launched several wars even before the creation of Hamas movement.

But not every Palestinian shares Shurrab's feelings. Mohammed Khamis, an accountant, says it's time to have a mutual ceasefire in Gaza. "We are glad that the resistance has bounded many Israeli cities, but I believe that's enough, I guess they have learned the lesson and we really need a truce before Israel is going crazy," he says.

Ola Salama, a civil servant and a mother of two kids, says she wants the fighting to end as soon as possible. "Our life is getting worse, we are always panicked by the bombardment and the continuation of the fire rocket and shelling means a ground war, which I don't want," she says. "We have had enough of this."

* Kristen Chick contributed from Cairo.


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