Adnan, father of Duniana al-Amour sits among her drawings. AP
When Israeli bombs began falling last week, 22-year-old Duniana al-Amour ran into her room and tried to escape into her art and drawing, just as she had during Gaza's past wars.
But this time around, her pencil never met the paper.
An Israeli shell struck outside her home on Friday, making her one of the first of at least 47 Palestinians - including 16 children - who were killed during three days of heavy fighting between Israel and Hamas. She was killed during Israel's surprise opening salvo, hours before Hamas had fired any rockets.
Her drawings, mostly black and white portraits of relatives, some killed in previous rounds of fighting in Gaza, can be seen in the shattered bedroom where she died. Her mother, her brother and two sisters-in-law were in another room baking bread and suffered only minor injuries. Days later, the bread sits out on a wooden tray - a still-life from the moment the shell hit.
One of her sisters-in-law, Simone, said al-Amour's life revolved around her art. "She painted whether she was happy or sad. She would bring a chair to the backyard, sit and draw. She drew all of us," Simone said.
Her death underscores the vulnerability of Palestinian civilians during the frequent conflicts, including four wars fought between Israel and Hamas rulers since they seized power in Gaza 15 years ago. The wars have killed more than 4,000 Palestinians, over half of whom were civilians, according to the United Nations. More than 100 people have been killed on the Israeli side.
Al-Amour had tried to escape Gaza's tribulations through art. Her relatives said she had little interest in politics and dreamed of making a Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, in Saudi Arabia.
Her family home, nestled among farmland and olive groves near the border, was a bucolic escape from Gaza's densely-packed cities and refugee camps. It was also on the front line whenever a new round of fighting broke out.
All the family knows is that the shell that killed al-Amour came from the direction of the border fence. Mohammed al-Amour, Duniana's grieving brother, said that Israel, with its sophisticated surveillance and targeting capabilities, had to have known what it was aiming at.
"They brag about this technology," he said. "They know who is a civilian or not.”
Tension between Israel and the Palestinians has risen over the past week, after six Palestinian militants escaped from a maximum security Israeli jail on Monday. Israeli forces have since captured four of the inmates.
The Israeli army said in a statement, “In response to continual launches of incendiary balloons from Gaza into Israel throughout the day, a short while ago IDF fighter jets struck a Hamas military compound and a rocket launching site.”
Saturday's violence erupted after hundreds of Palestinians took part in a demonstration organised by Gaza’s Hamas rulers to draw attention to the Israeli-Egyptian blockade of the territory.
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