[SOUNDS OF ARTILLERY IN BACKGROUND]
For more than a week since fighting erupted between Israel and Palestinian militants, the children of Mohammed and Rana al-Mashharawi have been living in fear in Gaza – with their littlest, a one-year-old, adding the word “boom” to her budding vocabulary.
[MOHAMMAD AL-MASHARAWI]: "My children are having nightmares at night. They're not making any sense because of the fear, they are suffering from hysteria. My little one takes medicine to be able to sleep because she is always tired from the bombing and the strange sounds that we hear. It is crazy, we can't stand it anymore."
The family – which includes 5-year-old triplets, and the toddler – have already fled to a relative’s apartment, retreating each evening to a mattress placed in a windowless corridor, away from any glass.
Five-year-old daughter Celina: "I run into my mother's arms. Because of the sound of bombing."
Their personal documents and other essential items are packed and ready to go if need be.
[MOHAMMAD AL-MASHARAWI]: “We spend our life moving from place to place. Our life is full of fear. There is no security at all."
[U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTONIO GUTERRES]: "If there is hell on earth, it is the lives of children in Gaza today."
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday strongly criticized both sides for civilian casualties – noting that at least 60 children have been killed in Gaza – and called the deaths a violation of international humanitarian law.
“Even wars have rules.”
Medics say a total of 230 people have been killed in Gaza.
Israel puts its death toll at 12, including two children, in barrages that it says are among the most intense the country has ever faced.
In the Mashharawi household, 5-year-old daughter Amira has a very simple request: "I am waiting for the war to be over so I can go out and play."
She may get her wish, as there was some hope late Thursday that the fighting would end, as Israel and Hamas appeared to be on the verge of a ceasefire.