Residents in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahiya, as in other parts of the Strip, prepared on Sunday to pay their last respects to Gazans killed in the Israel Defense Force attacks on Saturday.
The exact death toll remained unclear Sunday morning, due to difficulties in identifying some of the bodies and communications disruptions, but the atmosphere in the area was particularity grim.
Among the mourners were relatives of 24-year-old Hussein Ahmad Wadi, who was an instructor in a course at the Palestinian police station's passport section that was struck in an attack that killed dozens.
Wadi was given the rank junior officer at the end of the month of Ramadan, bringing his family much pride. He was married in April, and awaiting the birth of his first child. Neighbors also looked proudly at the star on the new officer's uniform.
"I am not a Hamas man, but I can say that he was a polite man, a man of honor and a source of pride for his family and the neighborhood," said one of Wadi's relatives, adding that Wadi completed his university studies last year and was considered to be a "serious guy" by his acquaintances.
Besides Wadi, at leas six other people from the neighborhood were killed, including two members of the al-Kurd family. Another casualty was Ahmad a-Tuli, an Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades official.
No one spoke openly about it in the neighborhood, but everyone knew a-Tuli was an official in the force that built the empire of Hamas tunnels meant to surprise IDF troops in the event of a ground operation.
A neighbor said a-Tuli's parents had a difficult time identifying him, because his face was completely torn up. "His chin was all that was left of his face. And what helped them identify him was mainly the clothes he was wearing before he left the house that the family members recognized," the neighbor said.
One thing certain
Another resident of the neighborhood, Hassan Aruk, was also killed in the police station course.
Aruk's relatives said that due to the threat of an Israeli attack, the course was put on hold for a few days, and only resumed Saturday, after Gaza received signals from Egypt that no IDF attack was expected in the coming days.
"He was on holiday a few days due to the situation, and then the police realized that yesterday it was safe to go back to normal, because of talks of a calming message from Egypt, and then what happened happened," said a neighbor.
The neighbor stressed that regardless of the identities of the dead, and despite the Hamas-Fatah hostility ever since the Hamas takeover of the Strip, there was no gloating on anyone's part.
"Not all the dead are Hamas, there are also civilians, and there are also security officers that belong to Fatah and were forced to continue serving under Hamas because the payment of their salaries from the West Bank was stopped," he explained.
Residents of Beit Lahiya had different opinions on what Hamas' response to the attacks should be. Some said they wanted more Qassam rockets to be fired on Israel, while others said they wanted all rocket attacks to stop.
"There are those that say a response could be to blow up a bus in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, and not necessarily using rockets that would be following by scrambling of jets into the air," on resident said.
While residents disagreed on the course of action to be taken towards resistance, one thing was certain, and anyone who was asked had the same reply – could there be a revolt against Hamas? No way.