Gaza, ALRAY - With slow, cautious steps, filled with fear and regret, 9-year-old Ibtisam Abu Tayr moved among the remnants of her demolished home in the town of Abasan Al-Kabira, east of Khan Younis in southern Gaza. She was searching for her school bag, books, and clothes.
Ibtisam managed to reunite with her homeless family on Sunday morning, following the announcement of a ceasefire, as they searched for any remaining traces of their memories amid the rubble of their destroyed home. As a third-grade student, Ibtisam and her siblings face challenges in returning to their studies, especially with the final exams approaching. Their emotional state, having lost everything except for sad memories, does not allow them to easily resume their education, according to their family.
"Ripped books and a torn bag" were the only items Ibtisam managed to find amidst the debris. Her mother called out to her in a loud voice, "Come on, let's go before the ceiling falls on us." Ibtisam had no choice but to obey her mother's words, immediately leaving and sitting inside a small tent next to their destroyed home, where they received support from those who stood by them.
Ibtisam said, "They demolished our house, and I don't know what to wear for school tomorrow. I lost all my books and school notebooks. I searched for them but couldn't find them. I only found my torn bag and some torn notebooks. I don't know how I will study for the exams."
She added, "May Allah take revenge on the Jews... They deprived us of our home, and I don't know how we will live without a house. Even my belongings, clothes, and my room were destroyed, and I lost them all."
"I am not able to return to school. I am still afraid of the bombings. I couldn't find my summaries and study notebooks. I don't know how I will take the exams. I feel sad, and I cried when our house was bombed. I don't know how I will spend the coming days and where."
Ibtisam's family home was targeted by Israeli airstrikes on the evening of Friday, May 12, 2023, resulting in its near-total destruction, along with severe damage to neighboring houses.
It should be noted that Israel follows a policy of demolishing residential homes either while their inhabitants are still inside or shortly after their evacuation in each aggression. The recent escalation witnessed a significant number of destroyed homes and residential apartments, ranging from complete destruction to partial damage in the Gaza Strip.
According to official statistics, the total number of affected residential units during the recent Israeli aggression reached 2,041, including 31 completely demolished houses, 128 uninhabitable residential units, and 1,820 partially damaged residential units. The estimated losses amount to 9 million dollars.