WITNESS: Two weeks under fire in Gaza
By Nidal al-Mughrabi
GAZA (Reuters) - Voices get loud and excited over the radio Reuters news crews use in Gaza to call in the latest information. Some people complain there are no "Western reporters" inside. But we all work here for Reuters.
After two full weeks of bombardment we are all worried about our families but we work and work the story. We hope it will stop.
"They bombed a car in Beit Lahiyah," says one colleague working in northern Gaza. "Three dead arrived in Shifa hospital," says another in Gaza's largest hospital. "Several people injured when Israeli planes bombed the tunnels," says a third from southern Gaza Strip near the border with Egypt.
I field these calls in our office where we have duct tape crosses on every window to limit flying glass if a strike is too close. Still, the largest window in the hall was blown out.
We have a fixed camera on our high-rise building but our cameramen avoid pointing their cameras from the windows, in case they are mistaken for weapons.
Such mistakes were given as the reason a U.S. tank blasted our Baghdad bureau in 2003, killing and wounding colleagues, and for an Israeli tank killing our colleague here in Gaza, Fadel Shana, nine months ago.
The camera can show the blue Mediterranean sea a few blocks to the west, or point the other way to where Israeli ground forces are closing in, perhaps little more than a kilometer away. At night it used to show bright lights and traffic.
Now it is empty streets and a few cold electric lights. Nothing much moves after dark these days. And we choose, for safety reasons, not to stay in the office overnight. We look after our families and keep in touch with work by phone. Continued...