Children make up a big part of the population in places like Syria and Gaza, where hundreds have been killed in the fighting so far. For many of them, they have barely known a life without death or conflict.
Israeli military officers have said they're surprised by how well Hamas is fighting against Israeli soldiers. That's because of a years-long effort by Hamas to boost their defenses and train their fighters for new kinds of battles.
The Israel Defense Forces are unmatched in the Middle East. But seven more of its soldiers died in fighting on Monday, bringing the total to 25 Israelis killed since ground operations began last Thursday. That's because Hamas is better on the battlefield than before.
Fighting in the the Gaza City neighborhood of Shejaiya has reduced many areas to rubble. The BBC's Lyse Doucet tells PRI's The World that residents can't find shelter, despite Israeli assurances to the contrary.
Rocket launches are down and tunnels are being destroyed in the Gaza Strip, which are signs of progress for the Israeli military. But Gazans say the ground offensive is creating more deaths and "ghost town scenes" across the tiny territory, with no sign of a possible ceasefire.
In Gaza, the fighting and the civilian population are so tightly packed together that watermelon fields also serve as launching areas for rockets into Israel. And as bombs continue to fall, the streets have turned empty.
Dozens of Palestinians with US passports or legal residency in the US have managed to get out of the Gaza Strip since the most recent violence began, but there are dozens more still there. And it's not clear if or when they will be able to leave.
Just as in past rounds of violence between Israel and Hamas, it is Palestinian civilians who are paying the highest price. After four days of Israeli bombardment, more than 100 Palestinians are now dead — and many of them are non-combatants.
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