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Gaza man turns aid parachute into shelter

By AFP

April 22, 2024 07:45 PM


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When Naeem al-Goaan saw a parachute descending off the coast of Gaza, he saw it for more than just the aid being dropped into the food-deprived and war-ravaged Palestinian territory.

After "the parachute fell into the sea, we brought it (to shore) in a small boat," the Palestinian fisherman from the central Gaza Strip city of Deir el-Balah told AFP.

"People took the aid and we took (the parachute) to turn it into a tent where my sister sleeps at night, whereas during the day, we turn it into a store."

The parachute's fabric now stands repurposed into a roughly one-square-metre (10 square feet) tent by the Deir el-Balah beach, stretched over a structure of wooden planks and metal tubes.

Complete with an awning to protect them from the sun, the Goaan family sat in the shade on Monday as they waited for people to buy their wares -- eggs, canned goods, instant noodles -- stacked on a wooden bench.

Getting the parachute took effort, Goaan said. "We struggled a lot to get it, and the boat capsized twice before we retrieved it."

The prospect of the war, already more than six months old, dragging on further made the effort worthwhile said Goaan.

"The reason (for setting up the tent) is the war. It seems the war will last for a long time," he said.

The war between Israel and Hamas erupted when the Islamist group launched an unprecedented attack on the country on October 7.

The attack resulted in the deaths of 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.

Israel vowed to eliminate Hamas and in its ensuing military offensive in Gaza has killed at least 34, 15 people, most of them women and children, according to the health ministry in the Hamas-run territory.

The blistering air, land and sea assault on the Gaza Strip has reduced large swathes of the territory to rubble, with a very large number of people now living in makeshift tents.

Meanwhile in nearby Rafah, just south of Deir el-Balah, Israel is buying 40,000 tents to shelter almost half a million Gazans ahead of a ground attack on what it says is Hamas's last holdout.

More than 1.5 million of the 2.4 million Palestinians in Gaza are estimated to have taken refuge in Rafah since the erupted on October 7.

Some are believed to have returned north after Israel withdrew most of its troops from southern Gaza earlier this month.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli officials have repeatedly said a ground assault on Rafah will go ahead.


AFP


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