(GAZA) — When the sun goes down, many Gazans say they lie awake in fear.
The only light they see comes from the airstrikes raining down around them, the booming sounds of explosions keeping them up throughout the night.
“Nights here in Gaza are scary as hell,” Omar Alnajjar, a 26-year-old living in Gaza, told ABC News. “You are blinded. You don’t see anything.”
He continued, “Whenever you’re going to bed or walking or sitting, there is always shaking. The building is shaking.”
With hours until sunrise, he said targets from Israeli forces were hit within tens of meters from his building without warning — windows were broken, doors ripped off. He said 11 neighbors were killed that morning.
“Right now, I only breathe rocket powder,” he added.
In Gaza, at least 2,215 people have been killed in retaliatory strikes from Israel with an estimated 8,714 more injured with those numbers expected to climb.
Israel has launched hundreds of airstrikes in retaliation to the Hamas terrorist attacks that killed at least 1,300 people have died and 3,227 others have been injured in Israel.
Alnajjar is housing seven families in his home — 38 people, about 13 children and 15 women. Three of the families have lost their homes near the borders of the Gaza Strip to airstrikes, Alnajjar said.
Some have been to several other homes before coming to Alnajjar — but have had to continue to relocate amid the attacks. The fear is constant, they say.
Alnajjar and the rest of the household are on high alert. He says he spends his days searching for food and water or listening to the radio: “Just trying to know there is any news regarding the ceasefire.”
Otherwise, he spends it playing with the children in hopes they’ll forget the reality of the airstrikes hitting around them.
“I distract children by playing with them, by making some funny sounds,” Alnajjar said. “Sometimes we play some card games just to let them forget about the bombing sounds.”
He said he does not succeed a lot of the time: “There is no space between the bombs and the other day here, the bombing sounds [were] continuous … There’s no chance to let them forget.”
When he was asked how he himself manages the fear and other emotions upon evacuations and bombing, Omar said he tries to “detach from emotions” and stay on “survival” mode. “I know it is not healthy,” he said. “But if we hear the sound of a bomb it means that we are not going to be killed by this bomb.”
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