Man loses entire family in a scorching instant

GAZA CITY, Gaza -- The skyline of Gaza is draped in clouds from constant shelling and shooting in the streets by Israeli soldiers.

And with the war, the never ending aftermath. The desperate search for survivors.

Sometimes people are found and lives are saved. Sometimes not.

These days in Gaza, death comes without warning and sometimes without making much sense. A shell hit here Sunday night and killed six members of a family, a seventh, a child, is still missing.

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Hassan Ell Halak
CBS News
Hassan Ell Halak survived, his face scorched by the blast. His wife and two sons, gone in an instant. His oldest boy, Canaan, was six.

Now Ell Halak suffers a father's agony.

"When I remember him, I remember his smile. And I found myself helpless. I could not save him."

Relatives came to the morgue to take away the bodies of his wife, children, mother, pregnant sister, and a two-year-old child.

"I am helpless. I don't know what's next. I cannot imagine, how can I start again?"

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Hassan Ell Halak speaks with Barry Petersen.
CBS News

At the nearby mosque, a brief prayer service. Then a procession down the street. Ending at the graveyard.

Yesterday, the Ell Halak's were a large and vibrant family. Now, they are statistics. More names on the list of the dead. More torment for the living.

The growing death toll does not seem to having an effect on morale within Gaza, at least not publicly. But openly opposing Hamas and this war can be dangerous.

  • Barry Petersen

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