Palestinians gather in Gaza City early on November 13, 2018, outside buildings damaged by overnight air strikes
Gaza City (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) - Israeli strikes kept Palestinians in Gaza on edge throughout the night over whether another devastating war was beginning, while tens of thousands of Israelis took refuge in shelters as rockets rained down.
Israeli air strikes continued sporadically in Gaza on Tuesday while bulldozers cleared rubble left behind by the previous night's bombings that flattened multi-storey buildings.
"What happened was like an earthquake," said Abu Ayman Lemzeni, who lives near Hamas's Al-Aqsa TV building in Gaza City destroyed by an Israeli strike.
"As you see, here there is no more the grocery, the pharmacy, the office, the wall, the building."
Before him, two satellite dishes could be seen in the rubble after the pulverising Israeli strike.
Flashes of fire followed by powerful explosions came one after the other at a steady pace beginning at dusk on Monday.
"The children are afraid. They are terrorised," said Gaza resident Jamal Murtaja. "We couldn't sleep last night or this morning."
Many had only a short time to flee their homes and found themselves in the street due to a lack of secure shelters.
"As soon as we saw the missiles, we ran outside the house," said Mohammed Aboud, who lives near the former Al-Amal hotel building, which Hamas had used as an internal security headquarters before it was hit on Monday night.
"We are civilians. We don't have guns or rockets."
- 'Traumatised' -
Just 20 kilometres (12 miles) away, on the other side of Israel's heavily guarded security fence, the more than 128,000 residents of the coastal Israeli city of Ashkelon spent the night under rocket fire.
"The girls are traumatised. It's not possible," said father of three Meir Edery.
He points to the building in front of his, its top floor ripped open by a rocket that killed a Palestinian labourer and badly wounded an Israeli woman.
Edery and his family took refuge in a shelter.
A police spokesman said Israelis in Ashkelon have little more than 30 seconds to reach a secure location once an alert sounds.
"We are demanding that the government give us the ability to raise our children securely," Edery said. "It's our most basic right."
Behind him, neighbours called out "destroy Hamas," the Islamist movement that runs the Gaza Strip and with whom Israel has fought three wars since 2008.
Along the city's port, nearly all stores had their shutters closed.
Under the azure blue sky, Nissim Arzoane, 65, came to cast his fishing line in the sea, as he does each day.
"We have to show them that we are not afraid," he said.
Sitting at one of the rare open cafes, David Cohen called on the military to respond "without fear".
"They will not break us," said the man in his 50s.
- 'Rockets flying' -
Israeli authorities ordered the closure of schools and kindergartens, and many streets were deserted.
Betty Calvo, 63, could not sleep at all the previous night.
She tells her nine-year-old grandson Nahman, who lives near the Gaza border, to run to the shelter as soon as he hears the sirens.
He says that he saw "rockets flying in the sky".
"Is that normal that a child of that age tells that kind of thing to his grandmother?" she asks.
In Gaza, a number of buildings destroyed in the last war with Israel in 2014 still have not been rebuilt.
The streets of Gaza City, usually bustling and noisy, were deserted on Tuesday morning.
The previous night, long lines formed at bakeries and stores as residents sought to stock up on goods in case of a new full-blown conflict.
"We haven't forgotten the last war in 2014," said Mohamed Bulbul, who lives in the southern sector of the city.
"People are tired of wars. That's enough."