AS THE funeral procession bearing the El Dallo family made its way from the mortuary towards their ruined home, rescue teams were still sifting through the wreckage for Yara El Dallo.
Early yesterday, they found the 20-year-old mother's arm but as her family was being prepared for burial, her body was still missing.
At 10am, a grim-faced assembly of men waited to receive the 14 other people who had been inside the family home when it was hit by a rocket fired from an F16 jet on Sunday afternoon. At their centre sat Jamal El Dallo (50) whose brother, wife, daughters, sons, nieces and nephews were all killed in the blast.
He and his son Abdullah (18) had been manning the family grocery store in Gaza City at the time of the strike. One of his older sons, Mohamed (24) rumoured to have worked for Hamas, was thought to have been the target. But to his grieving father, Mohamed was just a traffic policeman.
"All my family is gone. All the children, five, six, two and seven, they couldn't fire rockets. My wife, my sister, they didn't fire rockets. God have mercy on them," Mr El Dallo said, his eyes fixed on the debris-strewn floor in front of him.
"But I am not surprised. Every house in the country is a target for Israel's jets."
As the first bodies – the adults – were carried up the leafy suburban street on the shoulders of Hamas officials, the shrill wails of women rang out over the resistance songs that were blaring from loudspeakers. A stampede of young men crunched over floral tea cups, smashed glasses and decorative metal trays to get a glimpse of the bodies.
They clambered on to the highest points of the wreckage, mattresses, TVs and fallen masonry, to get one final glimpse of the dead, who were shrouded by Hamas flags. (© Daily Telegraph, London)