A family's devastation, a father's anguish

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - There was no making sense of the 18th day of fierce fighting in Gaza.

It's a battle over the 32-mile-long Palestinian homeland. The militant group, Hamas, which controls Gaza, has launched thousands of rockets into Israel demanding that the Israelis lift a 7-year blockade of Gaza.


Israel launched an offensive to take out the Hamas rockets. Some 864 Palestinians have been killed -- the vast majority civilians.

Sixteen were killed when a U.N. school was hit Thursday.

CBS News joined Abed Rabu during a quiet graveside moment with his 18-month-old daughter who was killed at the U.N. school Thursday. We asked what was going through his mind.

"It's like I've lost part of myself," he said. "She used to smile and play -- and then suddenly she was gone."

At a local cemetery, all of the new graves are from people who were killed in the U.N. school incident. They had to be buried hurriedly because this is a war zone. Families only had time to write the dead person's name on a piece of cardboard, and attach it to a stick.

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Palestinian Abed Rabu stands next to the grave of his 18-month-old daughter, killed Thursday in a rocket attack on a U.N. school in Gaza.0old d
CBS News

The U.N. sent weapons experts to the school Friday to investigate the attack. But they had to turn back due to heavy gunfire in the area.

The Israelis claim surveillance drones have spotted Hamas militants using schools, hospitals and mosques for military purposes. And twice the U.N. has found Hamas storing weapons in its vacant schools.

But it also means heavy civilian casualties in Gaza, where more children have been killed than Hamas soldiers.

We met one more casualty from the school incident today when Abed Rabu took us to see his badly wounded 13-year-old son Achmed.

"I was hit by shrapnel," he told us. "I couldn't do anything for my family because I was bleeding."

Sharing his family's devastation was too much for Rabu, who was overcome with emotion and began to weep.

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Palestinian Abed Rabu weeps as he visits his gravely wounded son Achmed, 13. Rabu had earlier taken CBS News' Barry Petersen to the grave of his 18-month-old daughter, killed in Thursday's rocket attack on a U.N. school in Gaza.
CBS News

Have the civilians lost their enthusiasm for the goals of Hamas?

People here see the attack as more proof that civilian deaths don't matter. The eight-year Israeli blockade has left this a place in such poverty and desperation. Hamas promises that this war will change that -- and that's why they keep their support.

  • Barry Petersen

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