Gazans fearful of new Israeli bombing campaign in 2022
Residents of the impoverished strip told The New Arab that they were "terrified" of being dragged into a new military escalation with Israel and have "lost all hope" of living in peace.
Asmaa al-Madhoun, 48-year-old mother of five from Gaza city, told TNA that when Israel announced it would attack the strip, she rushed to open up her windows, despite the cold weather, to avoid glass shattering inside the house.
"Unfortunately, no one can guarantee a secure life for us in Gaza… all of us are hostages of the political and military conflict between the Palestinian factions and Israel," she said.
With a breaking voice, Madhoun recalled the horrifying nights she and her family had to experience during Israeli attacks.
Israel, which considers Hamas a terror organisation, launched four large-scale military operations in the Gaza Strip between 2008 and 2021 to curb what it called a "threat" in the enclave.
The last round of attacks in May was considered the most intense since 2014, according to Palestinian officials and local residents.
On Sunday, Israel renewed airstrikes against what it said were Hamas sites, a day after two rockets were fired from the territory into the Mediterranean Sea, off central Israel.
"Because of the dire situation in Gaza, we live under the threats all the time," Kamal Baroud, a resident from Khan Younis city, told TNA
"All people around the world celebrated the new year, wishing happiest days for each other except us… We have to wish to live only without hoping for any better things," he said, bitterly.
Both Madhoun and Baroud expressed their hope that Egypt would pressure Israel to stop its violence against Gazans, who do not have the means to protect themselves.
In a press statement in response to Sunday's attacks, Hamas said "the Israeli targeting of the Gaza Strip is a new level of aggression that has been added to the record of crimes against the Palestinian people".
Hazem Qassim, the spokesman of the movement, said the "Palestinian resistance will continue to perform its duty to defend our people and liberate our land and our holy sites, holding the trigger and clinging to its weapons until achieving the goals of our people with liberation and return".
Meanwhile, Egypt has called for an immediate ceasefire and de-escalation between the two sides, expressing its worry over the new tensions.
Egyptian officials called on Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups in Gaza to stop their actions seen by Israel as "provocative", and for Israel to accelerate arrangements agreed upon as part of a ceasefire, an Egyptian diplomat with knowledge of the ongoing efforts told AP.
The diplomat spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to discuss the matter with the press.
"Neither side wants a full-blown war," the diplomat said. "They just want guarantees and steps on the ground."