Mon 27-May-2024

Khan Yunis after IOF withdrawal: The will to live confronts destruction and the smell of death

Tuesday 9-April-2024

KHAN YUNIS, (PIC)

The smell of death permeates from the ruins of Khan Yunis, beneath the rubble of its homes and buildings destroyed by the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) over four months of genocide.

The withdrawal of IOF from Khan Yunis at dawn on Sunday (April 7) allowed citizens to return to their homes, only to be shocked by the extent of the massive destruction left by the Israeli aggression.

As pedestrians walk through the city and its various neighborhoods, it initially feels as if a severe earthquake has struck, after the Israeli terrorist army wreaked havoc in the city that scripted a heroic defensive saga that humiliated the IOF on the ground.

The terrorist army spared no home, bombing, burning, or defacing them with racist and offensive phrases against Prophet Muhammad, the Palestinian people, and the Arab and Islamic nations.

Immense destruction

Citizens, while inspecting their homes, cry with pain and regret, recalling memories and lives lived in their homes for decades. However, they do not abandon hope and the will to live.

Citizen Mahmoud Salman tells the PIC correspondent after inspecting his house in the Hamad City, “The IOF wreaked havoc in the city in an indescribable manner. Residential towers were destroyed massively, as if an earthquake had struck the city.”

He continues that when he entered one of high-rise buildings, he found offensive phrases against Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, written by IOF soldiers.

He added that the soldiers wreaked havoc in apartments and houses engaging in despicable behaviors such as defecating in clothes and cooking utensils and residential rooms, in addition to stealing valuable items from citizens’ homes.

He explained that the destruction was diverse, with some houses leveled to the ground, others burnt and in need of demolition, and others damaged to varying degrees. In conclusion, the IOF sowed unprecedented destruction in the city.

Citizens and rescue teams are engaged in retrieving the bodies of martyrs from under the rubble. According to civil defense, 30 martyrs were recovered from Khan Yunis, while our correspondent reported medical and local sources confirming the retrieval of 84 martyrs within two days of the occupation’s withdrawal from the city.

Thousands of bodies are buried under the rubble, and civil defense teams face difficulties in retrieving them due to the lack of resources.

55% of buildings destroyed

According to experts’ estimates tracking destruction via satellite imagery, about 55% of buildings in Khan Yunis have been destroyed or damaged.

According to estimates, 45% of homes in Khan Yunis have been destroyed or damaged.

Infrastructure destruction

Citizen Abdul Haleem Hameed, moving from street to street on his way home, feels shocked by the destruction that has turned streets and homes along them into rubble. He says, “No street remains paved, all are torn up and sandy, and the houses on both sides are either destroyed or burnt, with only damaged structures remaining.”

The IOF completely destroyed the infrastructure, with no street as it was, no telephone, communication, or electricity networks. All have been destroyed, in an attempt to revert life to bygone eras.

Destroyed neighborhoods

In the Al-Amal neighborhood west of Khan Yunis, the scene is painful, with most tall buildings leveled to the ground and the streets excavated.

Citizen Mahmoud Al-Haddad tells our correspondent, “The Israeli occupation destroyed everything without any justification, neither homes, streets, nor properties, nor health facilities or economic establishments.”

With eyes filled with great regret and even greater determination, he adds, “They completely destroyed Khan Yunis, in the biggest, most brutal revenge operation. They succeeded in destruction, but they will certainly not defeat the will nor the resistance.”

Dozens of citizens have started packing their belongings and returning to the vicinity of their destroyed homes, setting up tents and living among the demolished walls, affirming that they are staying and clinging to hope and life, with the certainty that no matter how harsh the conditions, the occupation is destined to perish.

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