Ibrahim Abu Salah was brought to Al Shifa, Gaza’s central hospital, in the middle of the afternoon.
Neighbors said he was hit by an Israeli rocket during the first of three days of violence in the territory. Doctors said he was unlikely to survive.
One more victim of an incurable conflict that no one seems able to resolve.
We met his funeral procession shortly after our arrival in Gaza. The 44-year-old had died of serious injuries from shrapnel the previous night.
Mourners praised God and called for revenge by waving the flags of rival political factions Hamas and Fatah.
The funeral also offered them the opportunity to vent their frustration and rage on a compact strip of land that has been blocked off by the Israelis for 15 years.
Gaza is an open air prison they say – and it has suffered the loss of another inmate.
At least 49 were killed in fighting between Israel and the Islamic Jihad militant group. It began with a series of “pre-emptive” Israeli airstrikes, meant to destroy the militants’ ability to mount attacks. Islamic Jihad fired some 1,100 rockets in response.
Israel reported no deaths or serious injuries.
We went to meet members of Abu Salah’s family on the day of his funeral and they told us that he was not interested in the conflict.
His wife, Lobna, looked puzzled, telling us that her husband had just gone out for some fresh air in the afternoon heat.
“It’s hot and there’s no electricity,” she said. “He was trying to escape the heat, sitting under a tree to get some air. A rocket from a drone hit him and our neighbor. (They are) martyrs.”
The family’s dilapidated-looking house is a few meters from the “prohibited” buffer zone that Israel has imposed on the Gaza border.
The Israelis may have mistaken her husband for a member of the militia, Lobna said, as she sat under a collection of lebbeck.
In aerial video of the strike released by the Israeli military, an official said militants were using the location to plant rocket launchers.
Abu Salah leaves behind four children who will be forced to fend for themselves. Their father was unemployed when he died, like more than half the population of Gaza.
This is Gaza’s story, said neighbor Am Ahad Hamed.
“If you see (Abou Salah’s) children, it will break your heart and make a stone cry,” he said. “We live a life that is not worth living. We need someone to solve the Palestinian crisis so that we can live like people from other nations. Other nationalities have a good life, they enjoy of their childhood. Our children have no life.”
During a three-day commemoration for Ibrahim Abu Salah, mourners said a seat in heaven awaited him.
In Gaza, residents know that violence will return.