Free cookie consent management tool by TermsFeed Update cookies preferences

Palestinians Return to Khan Younis After Israeli Military Exit

Palestinians Return to Khan Younis After Israeli Military Exit
Source: Getty Images

The recent withdrawal of Israeli military forces has allowed Palestinians to trickle back into what was once a bustling city, now a tableau of devastation.

The return to Khan Younis is a journey fraught with sorrow and disbelief. Families who once left their homes in haste under the shadow of war are coming back to a reality where those homes no longer exist. The landscape is marked by shattered buildings, and the air carries the stench of death from bodies still trapped under the rubble.

For many, the return is not just about salvaging what's left but also about confronting the loss. Mahmoud Abdel-Ghani, who fled the city during the ground invasion, returned to find his house and his neighbors' houses reduced to rubble. The scenes of destruction are not limited to residential areas; the southern Gaza city's main hospital, Nasser, lies in shambles, a stark reminder of the human cost of conflict.

Despite the overwhelming destruction, there is a glimmer of resilience among the people of Khan Younis. Some return carrying belongings, others cycle on demolished roads to inspect the damage, and a few climb through the debris to retrieve what they can of their past lives. Ahmad Abu al-Rish, upon seeing the extent of the destruction, lamented, "It's all just rubble. Animals can't live here, so how is a human supposed to?"

The Israeli withdrawal coincided with the six-month anniversary of the war, leaving many to ponder the timing and the reasons behind the unannounced move. The departure of the forces has reduced the Israeli military presence in Gaza to one of its lowest levels since the conflict began, yet the future remains uncertain.

The return to Khan Younis is not just about rebuilding structures; it's about restoring lives and a community torn apart by war. The path to recovery will be long and arduous, but the spirit of the people suggests that Khan Younis will rise again, brick by brick, memory by memory.