Even fish not spared of Israeli onslaught on Gaza
Hundreds of civilian sites brought to rubble during latest Israeli offensive on Gaza
GAZA CITY, Palestine
When Iyad Al-Attar’s fish farm in the northern Gaza Strip’s town of Beit Lahiya was completely destroyed in Israeli airstrikes, his only source of income vanished in the blink of an eye.
“It is a disastrous calamity,” lamented the 46-year-old Palestinian.
For Al-Attar, the fish farm provided a lifeline for him and his family.
The farm and the areas in the vicinity were subjected to indiscriminate and fierce Israeli shelling, causing Al-Attar an estimated $35,000 material loss, including the loss of 5,000 kilograms of tilapia fish.
The level of destruction is very apparent when one steps into the farm. The fish are scattered everywhere and Al-Attar is hopelessly making efforts to save some of the surviving fish by moving them to another clean basin.
Meanwhile, one of his sons is working to remove dead fish and debris from inside the water tanks.
Al-Attar said he has no other means to support his family of 10 children, two of whom are married.
He said his son Deeb, who struggles with reproductive problems, was expecting to use the fish revenues at the end of May to cover for his medical treatment.
"We are astounded by the destruction of our farm and our fish for no reason,” Al-Attar said. "We were waiting for the fish season this year to repay our debts and treat one of my sons so that he could have children. Our hopes are all shattered now."
At least 253 Palestinians, including 66 children and 39 women, were killed, and more than 1,900 others injured in 11 days of massive Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip, according to Palestinian health authorities.
The violence erupted against the backdrop of tension over an Israeli court ruling to evict Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem and police assaults on worshippers inside the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Thirteen Israelis were also killed in Palestinian rocket fire from the Gaza Strip. The fighting, the fiercest in years, came to a halt on Friday under an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire.
The Israeli onslaught on the enclave also completely destroyed at least 2,000 buildings while 15,000 buildings became unusable, according to the Gaza-based Palestinian Ministry of Labor and Housing.
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*Writing by Ibrahim Mukhtar in Ankara