Middle East

Palestinians returning to Jabalya find the city reduced to rubble

From CNN's Ibrahim Dahman and Abdel Qadder Al-Sabbah, a stringer in northern Gaza

Displaced Palestinians returning home to the town of Jabalya in northern Gaza have found scenes of devastation, with homes and schools turned to rubble – the aftermath of three weeks of Israeli incursion.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) withdrew from Jabalya on Friday, claiming to have destroyed 10km of Hamas tunnels and recovered the bodies of seven hostages.

In a statement on X, formerly Twitter, on Saturday, the Palestinian Prime Minister’s office said Jabalya camp, “once full of life, now lies lifeless under Israeli-made ruins.”

Footage taken by a CNN stringer in Jabalya showed residents returning home by car, on bicycle and on foot, to find streets almost impassable due to the the rubble from destroyed buildings. Homes were left unrecognizable as bodies were recovered from the ruins.

Ihab Abu Namous, a 45-year-old father-of-four, told CNN: “I received pictures of my house through the neighbors after the Israeli army withdrew from Jabalya. Unfortunately, it was completely wiped out and there was no trace of it.”

Another resident, Ashraf Thabet, claimed the Israeli army used his house as a military barracks.

“They were using our house, the house’s items, and our personal belongings throughout the period of their stay,” he told CNN.

“And after they left the house, a missile was launched towards it, causing major damage. The house became uninhabitable on all floors.”

Poultry seller Muhammad Okal, 30, said civilians are “frustrated, despairing, and exhausted.”

“There is no life here. The streets are destroyed. Neither a car nor a cart pulled by an animal can move in the streets of Jabalya because of the widespread destruction.”

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