GAZA CITY -- I left Cairo on Friday morning, trying to get into Gaza by all means possible. Other journalists and I went first to the border, but we were rejected by Egyptian intelligence. So we had to lay low in Rafah and get smuggled in through a tunnel. We were told at the time that Israel was targeting the tunnels -- I mean, they always target them, but during a war you can imagine they do that more frequently.
We had a long wait on the Egyptian side of Rafah. Many of the tunnel owners were trying to make us pay crazy amounts of money, and we would just say, "you know, we can't afford that." Meanwhile, we started talking to some friends inside Gaza, who were able to get us permission from Hamas to enter. Even if you make it through a tunnel, you still have to do what they call "coordination" with what Hamas calls its "tunnel authority."
We had almost given up hope when one of the tunnel owners in Rafah obliged us. We got in near the end of the day on Saturday, Nov. 17, and we went directly to Rafah hospital -- earlier that day, five people had been killed in Gaza, including three children and a militant on a motorcycle. We went to see the dead bodies. Drones overhead were buzzing in the background, completely non-stop. They are very annoying at first, but then you sort of get used to it and it becomes a bit unusual when they're not there.
Bombing here usually occurs on two phases. First, a drone fires a rocket, which is sort of a sign for owners to leave. Ten minutes later, an Israeli F-16 comes swooping over and blows up the whole place. This builds some sort of anticipation and anxiety for what's coming. Some people take cover, but interestingly most people go nearby to watch it happen right in front of them.
Other journalists and I then went to Gaza City. Since we arrived, we have witnessed the two deadliest days of bombing, I think. It's getting worse. We were here when the al-Dallo family was massacred: Nine members of the family, including six children. We've largely laid low at night when the bombing gets most intense, and spent the day mostly at hospitals or destroyed families' houses.
There is extreme support for the resistance here. Even people who have always been critical of Hamas -- at times like this, there is always such support. When people hear a rocket fire into Israel, they shout "This is our rocket!" On Monday, Nov. 19, we heard children whistling -- a kind of cheering -- at a rocket that had left the area toward Israel. But even if people here feel they're winning despite the death toll, they still just want it to be over. They don't want this to drag on and fear it will get worse.
Above, three children from the al-Dallo family, killed in an Israeli airstrike on Nov. 18, lay swathed in Palestinian flags.