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Gaza City loses its sole power plant as death toll continues to rise

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The danger of air strikes is so great that firefighters can’t get close enough to extinguish the fire at Gaza City’s only power plant. (Source: CNN) The danger of air strikes is so great that firefighters can’t get close enough to extinguish the fire at Gaza City’s only power plant. (Source: CNN)
It will take at least a year to repair the power plant. But that has left water pumps in Gaza City inoperable. (Source: CNN) It will take at least a year to repair the power plant. But that has left water pumps in Gaza City inoperable. (Source: CNN)
The home of Ismail Hiniyeah, the most senior Hamas political leader, has been reduced to rubble. (Source: CNN) The home of Ismail Hiniyeah, the most senior Hamas political leader, has been reduced to rubble. (Source: CNN)

(CNN) – In Gaza, there may have been vague talk of a cease-fire proposal, but it failed again as Israel pounded Gaza City overnight and all day Tuesday.

Crossing the border from Israel, one sees destruction everywhere and the buildings still standing seem deserted.

The roads in the area are pretty much abandoned. The only vehicles are Israeli ambulances, pre-positioned in case there’s an Israeli air strike nearby and they need to get to the wounded, but for the most part, there seems to be no signs of life.

It’s so dangerous that firefighters can’t get close enough to put out a blaze at Gaza’s only power station. Palestinians say it was hit by the Israelis, but Israel’s military says it wasn’t a target.

"I've gone through our air force, our navy, our ground forces on the ground,” IDF spokesman Peter Lerner said. “[I] haven't been able to determine it was IDF activity."

Palestinians say it could take a year to repair the power plant, but without electricity, many water pumps in Gaza City are no longer working. Sewage systems have also been damaged and raw effluent is flowing into the sea.

Despite the Israeli offensive, Sala Jarour still opens his small shop every day. But now he sits there, in the dark.

“This is not fair, we have children; hospitals need power,” Jarour said. “The Israelis are not human.”

Everywhere there are long lines, especially for bread, and tempers are beginning to fray. People have waited for hours, and someone tried to cut in line.

One man said he wants the situation to end because of their families and children.

Along with the Hamas rockets and tunnels, Israel is also targeting Hamas leaders

Ismail Hiniyeah’s home is in ruins. He is the most senior Hamas political leader in Gaza. It was four stories tall, but now has been reduced to rubble. There was no one home when it was hit by an Israeli air strike, but the message from Israel was clear.

And just across the road from the Gaza home of the president of the Palestinian authority Mahmood Abbas, a mosque was hit by Israeli fire.

Three weeks on, as the death toll continues to climb, and many face life without electricity or running water, the Israeli prime minister has warned it could get worse.

Copyright 2014 CNN. All right reserved.

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