Winter storm batters the devastated Gaza Strip

Over the last several days, the Huda storm brought rain, hail, wind and freezing temperatures to the Gaza Strip. Still reeling from Israel's massive summertime assault, tens of thousands were ill-equipped to cope with the brutal weather.

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  1. This past week I again visited the Gaza Strip. With virtually no construction materials allowed in by Israel, thousands of Palestinians remain homeless.
  2. The day before the winter storm hit, I visited Khuza'a, east of Khan Younis. Large swaths of the village were destroyed by Israeli bombs and tank shells this summer.
  3. The Najjar clan -- one of the biggest in Khuza'a -- lost 48 family members according to the family.
  4. I took a selfie with some cute kids which went viral. These Palestinian children play in the crosshairs of snipers in Israeli pillboxes.
  5. The storm hit the following day. Thousands of Palestinians living in bombed out homes coped with the freezing temperatures as best as they could.
  6. Like Khuza'a, residents of Shujaiya live in the sights of trigger-happy Israeli soldiers who shoot anyone who approaches what Israel declared a buffer zone inside Gaza. Many people have been shot while hunting birds or farming.
  7. Back in Khuza'a, entire families whose homes were destroyed are living in shipping containers. The conditions are squalid.
  8. One man told me eight blankets are insufficient to provide warmth. With no other way to stay warm, every family had a fire inside their shipping container. Burning to death or carbon monoxide poisoning are constant risks.
  9. Families hold onto the memories of their loved ones who were killed.
  10. Despite brutal conditions, many refuse to give in to despair.
  11. As night fell, rain and bitter cold forced people to take shelter anywhere they could.
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