Israeli forces moved deep into eastern Gaza Sunday, bringing the Shujayeh neighborhood into the line of fire. Huge plumes of black smoke could be seen over the neighborhood, as blasts of tank shelling were heard every few seconds.
Israel's military described an "underground city" in Shujayeh, made up of a labyrinth of tunnels in which Hamas fighters engaged Israeli soldiers in fire fights.
Thousands who fled Shujayeh described a scene of devastation. "Bodies were on the street, body parts everywhere. We couldn't help them, we had to leave," said Ahmed Marwad, 41-year-old father of five who fled with his children and his niece.
At least 50 were killed in Shujayeh alone, said medics. "We are estimating the number of injured because they are too many to count," said Muhammed Amin, a doctor in Gaza's Shifa Hostpital. "And there are others, dead, who we can't reach."
The U.N. said that more than 64,000 have taken refuge in their facilities, and that thousands more were expected to arrive today. Many fled with just a few bags of clothes and food, using whatever transportation they could find.
Others walked miles, arriving in Gaza City holding only their children in their arms. "There are people outside begging for food and shelter," said Amin. "We don't know where to put them or how to begin to cope."
"We already have 30 people crowding into each room and more are coming," said Muhammed Abu Halima, who works at a U.N. school in Gaza City. "We are running out of food to give them."
Israel and Hamas announced a two-hour "humanitarian cease-fire" in Shujayeh, to allow ambulances to reach the wounded. But just 45 minutes after the cease-fire was announced, both sides accused the other of opening fire and clashes commenced.
Israel also announced that it was opening a field hospital along its eastern border with Gaza to treat the wounded, but with heavy fighting in the area it remained unclear if people would be able to travel to that border area.