GAZA CITY: The frenzied shouts of an auctioneer at Gaza City’s main fishing port brought a welcome reprieve from the din of gunfire and explosions as life begins slowly returning to normal following 11 days of hostilities between Hamas and Israel.
Israeli security forces prevented fishermen from sailing during the conflict, but they began allowing a limited number of ships to set out beginning Saturday as Egyptian mediators worked to firm up a ceasefire that took effect Friday.
Gazans take pride in their seafood, and the return of fishing buoyed hopes that the ceasefire will hold.
After a night out on the water, fishermen unloaded their bounty of crabs, shrimp and other fish at first light Sunday at Gaza City’s al-Mina port, where Hamas police were present to maintain order.
Buyers were already waiting to make their bids on boxes of fish arrayed on the ground after being unloaded from the boats, where young boys working as deckhands assisted older men in sorting and washing their catch.
The fish were then loaded onto horse-drawn carts for delivery to local markets.
Meanwhile Sunday, hundreds of municipal workers and volunteers began clearing rubble from Gaza’s streets. The work began outside a high-rise building that was flattened by Israeli warplanes during the early days of airstrikes on Gaza, with workers loading rubble into donkey carts and small pickup trucks.
The recent war saw Israel unleash hundreds of airstrikes across Gaza at what it said were Hamas militant targets. Hamas and other armed groups fired more than 4,000 rockets toward Israel, most of which were intercepted or landed in open areas. At least 243 Palestinians were killed, as were 12 people in Israel.