Has Akbar ever lost a war

War in the Middle East. Martin Lejeune has been at war for a week.

The other day it was his birthday. "34", he says into the cell phone, he is currently in a friend's apartment in Gaza City. "Sunday. Or? Yes, I think it was Sunday. ”It doesn't matter in war. The freelance journalist traveled to the Gaza Strip eight days ago - for most German journalists it is too risky there at the moment. Lejeune says: “I'm scared.” He has already been to Syria, Libya, Somalia. But Gaza is different. More dangerous. There are hardly any places to retreat when Israeli missiles fly again. The night from Monday to Tuesday was particularly dramatic: “I thought I wouldn't survive,” Lejeune told our newspaper on Tuesday morning on the phone. At the moment it is quieter, but Lejeune knows: "There is no safe place in Gaza anymore."

By Martin Lejeune

Gaza - A toy gun floats in a puddle of blood. Another is a pair of sandals. It belonged to one of the eight children who were still alive a few minutes ago and who might be playing catch or football in the small park of the Beach Refugee Camp. The trees have run out of leaves. They are lying on the street, on the roofs of the destroyed cars. The blood that turns the green leaves red is from eight dead children and two adults who died in a powerful explosion at the park entrance around 5 p.m. local time on Monday. At least another 40 people were injured, some very seriously.

The place of the explosion is a place of horror, remnants of human tissue stick to the walls of houses. A father carries his dead son to the back of a flatbed truck. He is accompanied by men who shout the tekbir “Allahu Akbar”, “God is great,” while taking cell phone photos of the mutilated corpse. Local residents try to calm a screaming woman who has lost her sister. A man lies unconscious on the street. A doctor is about to resuscitate him. Scenes from a normal afternoon in Gaza City. The Palestinians blame an Israeli air strike for the explosion in the park, a spokesman for the Israeli military denies this and blames a misdirected Hamas rocket for the massacre.

A few hours later: a perfectly normal night in Gaza City. F16 and F22 fighter jets thunder with tremendous noise low over Gaza City, their sound creates an echo between the walls of the high-rise buildings that are still standing. They fire a missile about every 30 seconds. The omnipresent whirring of the combat drones circling over our neighborhood, circling over every quarter of the Gaza Strip, sounds like the hum of an engine coming from the television speakers of a Formula One broadcast.

It is a terrifyingly impressive display of military destructiveness. The constant bombardment in the air, on land and at sea puts the people of the Gaza Strip in collective fear of death that night. The Israeli armed forces, one of the most modern armed forces in the world, are serious.

As I write these lines to put my mind at ease, I am not at the Al-DeiraBeach Hotel on Gaza Beach, where foreign correspondents are taking refuge. I'm in the home of a Muslim family in the center of Gaza City. I hear babies screaming non-stop in neighboring apartments, scared children crying in their mothers arms, like adults cursing. The bombing began at 11:30 p.m. local time with heavy air strikes on the Bureji refugee camp in the center of the Gaza Strip. We have been under fire in the center of Gaza City since 1 a.m. In a small town that, with its hundreds of thousands of inhabitants, is one of the most densely populated areas in the world.

My friends and I barricade ourselves in the living room and hear the rocket impacts get closer and closer. After a few hours, it no longer holds me in my chair and I go to the balcony on the second floor. What I see are no longer the streets of Gaza City as I know them. A landscape of ruins lies before my eyes, a panorama of an inferno spreads out. Countless military fluorescent spheres turn the night sky over Gaza into broad daylight - and show the missiles of the fighter jets their way to their target. The light from the fluorescent spheres, which slowly slide towards the ground, penetrates the mushroom-shaped dust clouds that shoot up from the house that has just been destroyed after each rocket impact. With every explosion, the foundation of our house shakes, the ledge of the balcony on which I am standing wobbles, the alarm systems of the cars parked in front of the house sound.

The dogs bark like crazy, frightened donkeys, which are a means of transport here in the Gaza Strip, run aimlessly through the streets and screech even louder than the babies. All these noises mix with the howling of the ambulance sirens to create a symphony of a big city at war, whose recurring leitmotif is the roaring thunder of rockets - and whose composer is some commander in chief in Jerusalem who is calculating the destruction. At five in the morning, when the constant bombardment is still going on, the rooster in our courtyard joins the crowd. Hopefully as the final act. We can't take any more rocket hits.

The children, including some adults, are trembling all over. Maher Issa, my host, the sweat of fear runs down my spine. His shirt is soaking wet. Now another rocket hits just a few hundred meters away from us. She meets the Al-Amin mosque, which I photographed yesterday and which is right next to the house of the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Fatah). “I go to pray in the Al-Amin mosque every day,” says Maher. “Now I have to switch to the Al-Furqan Mosque, which is significantly further away from our house. If the Al-Furqan mosque wasn't bombed tonight. ”Later, through a phone call from a friend, Maher learned that the house of Ismael Haniya, the Palestinian prime minister and Hamas leader, was destroyed that night, as well as the finance ministry. "Israel did this so that Hamas could no longer pay its employees in the administration and in the security services."

In a live broadcast of the Arab television channel Al Jazeera, many children and women with severe burns and serious injuries can be seen who were brought to the Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City by rescue workers or neighbors.

We have now realized that this is not a normal night in Gaza City. "These are the most violent attacks since the war began three weeks ago and even the most intense bombing during all of the three Gaza wars since December 2008," says Maher with a blank look. I've never seen him so desperate.

The Al Jazeera correspondent, who is currently in the lobby of the Al Deira Beach Hotel in the lobby of the Al Deira Beach Hotel, observes that the intensity of the bombing this night cannot be compared with any night that Gaza has ever experienced before Doha gives a telephone interview.

Sleep is out of the question that night. Everyone fears for their lives, everyone is afraid of the next blows, everyone worries about their relatives and friends. "Hayak Allah!", The members of my host family exclaim every time a rocket crashes into the ground: "God help us!" -22 aircraft or a navy ship.

Tomorrow morning the people of Gaza will count their dead. But only if the hellfire stops once. Because during such attacks, whether by day or by night, nobody can leave the house without risking their life. He would be immediately in the sights of the drones, which scout the area for targets and transmit the exact target coordinates to the bomber pilots in seconds.

"As soon as the attacks are over, we can look for injuries in the destroyed houses in our neighborhood," I say to Maher, who is just passing the hose from the water pipe to his friend. He looks at me seriously: “They will never stop attacking us. They want to fight us until we are all dead or displaced. "

Now, on Tuesday morning, on the way to the Al Deira Beach Hotel, the extent of the destruction that night becomes clear. There are broken pieces and rubble all over the streets. Now I can also see the Al-Amin mosque. It is completely destroyed.