Thousands of Gazans living in schools

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...

31 PHOTOS
Gazans in schools
See Gallery
Thousands of Gazans living in schools (PHOTOS)
In this Monday, July 14, 2014 photo, a Palestinian girl sits on the wall of the New Gaza United Nations School, where dozens of families have sought refuge after fleeing their home in fear of Israeli airstrikes. Twenty U.N. schools took in more than 17,000 displaced Gazans, many of them children, after Saturday's warnings by Israel that civilians must clear out of northern Gaza. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
In this Monday, July 14, 2014 photo, a donkey cart belonging to displaced Palestinians sits parked in front of a mural painted at the New Gaza United Nations School, where dozens of families have sought refuge after fleeing their home in fear of Israeli airstrikes. 20 U.N. schools took in more than 17,000 displaced Gazans, many of them children, after Saturday's warnings by Israel that civilians must clear out of northern Gaza. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
A Palestinian girl rests next to a painting with Arabic writing that reads "Palestine," in a United Nations school where dozens of families have sought refuge after fleeing their home in fear of Israeli airstrikes, in Gaza City, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing volleys of tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a high-stakes ground offensive meant to weaken the enclave's Hamas rulers. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
In this Monday, July 14, 2014 photo, young Palestinian girl Fulla Attar, 10, rests in a classroom of the New Gaza Boys United Nations school, where dozens of families have sought refuge after fleeing their home in fear of Israeli airstrikes. 20 U.N. schools took in more than 17,000 displaced Gazans, many of them children, after Saturday's warnings by Israel that civilians must clear out of northern Gaza. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
In this Monday, July 14, 2014 photo, a boy cools off on a hot summer day at the Gaza Boys United Nations School, where dozens of families have sought refuge after fleeing their home in fear of Israeli airstrikes. 20 U.N. schools took in more than 17,000 displaced Gazans, many of them children, after Saturday's warnings by Israel that civilians must clear out of northern Gaza. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
In this Monday, July 14, 2014 photo, a Palestinian family displaced by ongoing violence clean a classroom where they now live in the New Gaza United Nations School, where dozens of families have sought refuge after fleeing their homes in fear of Israeli airstrikes. In Gaza, about one-fourth of the over 170 Palestinians killed in the past week were children, according to U.N. figures. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
In this Monday, July 14, 2014 photo, Ahmed Attar, 12, stands in the stairwell of the New Gaza Boys United Nations School, where dozens of families have sought refuge after fleeing their home in fear of Israeli airstrikes. The children of the Attar clan have lived through three wars in just over five years, each time fleeing their homes as Israel bombarded their neighborhood in the Palestinian Gaza Strip. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
In this Monday, July 14, 2014 photo, sisters Mariam Attar, center right, and Sada Attar, center left, rest with their children inside the New Gaza Boys United Nations School after fleeing their home in fear of Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City. The children of the Attar clan have lived through three wars in just over five years, each time fleeing their homes as Israel bombarded their neighborhood in the Palestinian Gaza Strip. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Palestinians flee their homes to take shelter at the United Nations school in Gaza City, Sunday, July 13, 2014. Israel briefly deployed ground troops inside the Gaza Strip for the first time early Sunday as its military warned northern residents to evacuate their homes, part of a widening campaign against militant rocket fire that's seen more than 160 Palestinians killed. Israel accuses Hamas of using Gaza's civilians as human shields by firing rockets from there. Critics say Israel's heavy bombardment of one of the most densely populated territories in the world is itself the main factor putting civilians at risk. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
An elderly Palestinian takes shelter at the United Nations school after his family fled their homes in Gaza City on Sunday, July 13, 2014. Israel briefly deployed ground troops inside the Gaza Strip for the first time early Sunday as its military warned northern Gaza residents to evacuate their homes, part of a widening offensive that has killed more than 160 Palestinians. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
Palestinians take shelter at the United Nations school after they fled their homes in Gaza City on Sunday, July 13, 2014. Israel briefly deployed ground troops inside the Gaza Strip for the first time early Sunday as its military warned northern Gaza residents to evacuate their homes, part of a widening offensive that has killed more than 160 Palestinians. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
Palestinians take shelter at the United Nations school after they fled their homes in Gaza City, Sunday, July 13, 2014. Israel briefly deployed ground troops inside the Gaza Strip for the first time early Sunday as its military warned northern Gaza residents to evacuate their homes, part of a widening offensive that has killed more than 160 Palestinians. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
Palestinians take shelter at the United Nations school after they fled their homes in Gaza City on Sunday, July 13, 2014. Israel briefly deployed ground troops inside the Gaza Strip for the first time early Sunday as its military warned northern Gaza residents to evacuate their homes, part of a widening offensive that has killed more than 160 Palestinians. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
Palestinian youths play on a school desk after they fled their homes with their family to take shelter at the United Nations school in Gaza City, Sunday, July 13, 2014. Israel briefly deployed ground troops inside the Gaza Strip for the first time early Sunday as its military warned northern Gaza residents to evacuate their homes, part of a widening offensive that has killed more than 160 Palestinians. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
Displaced Palestinians seek refuge in a United Nations school in Gaza City after fleeing their homes Sunday, July 13, 2014. Israel has called on residents of the northern Gaza Strip to evacuate their homes, suggesting a coming attack after its troops earlier launched a brief raid. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Displaced Palestinians seek refuge at a United Nations school in Gaza City after fleeing their homes. Sunday, July 13, 2014. Israel has called on residents of the northern Gaza Strip to evacuate their homes, suggesting a coming attack after its troops earlier launched a brief raid. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Displaced Palestinians seek refuge in a United Nations school in Gaza City after fleeing their homes Sunday, July 13, 2014. Israel has called on residents of the northern Gaza Strip to evacuate their homes, suggesting a coming attack after its troops earlier launched a brief raid. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Displaced Palestinians seek refuge in a United Nations school in Gaza City after fleeing their homes Sunday, July 13, 2014. Israel has called on residents of the northern Gaza Strip to evacuate their homes, suggesting a coming attack after its troops earlier launched a brief raid. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Displaced Palestinians seek refuge in a United Nations school in Gaza City after fleeing their homes Sunday, July 13, 2014. Israel has called on residents of the northern Gaza Strip to evacuate their homes, suggesting a coming attack after its troops earlier launched a brief raid. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
In this photo taken Tuesday, May 20, 2014, two Palestinian school children walk past a mural depicting late Palestinian activist Ahmed Mosleh, who was killed during an Israeli army operation in 2006, with his name in Arabic and the names of other killed Palestinians, in an alley of the Dheisheh Palestinian refugee camp, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem. Pope Francis will spend less than half an hour in this Palestinian refugee camp during a jam-packed Holy Land tour this weekend, but residents hope even a brief visit will shine a light on what they say is their forgotten plight. Some 190,000 of the West Bank's 2.4 million Palestinians live in refugee camps and face tougher conditions _ including higher unemployment and overcrowding _ than their neighbors in towns and villages. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)
A displaced Palestinian sits in a roon at a UN School where she takes refuge during the heavy fighting in the Gaza Strip on September 7, 2014 in Beit Hanun in northern Gaza strip. Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas has threatened to break off a unity agreement with Hamas if the Islamist movement does not allow the government to operate properly in the Gaza Strip. AFP PHOTO/MAHMUD HAMS (Photo credit should read MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images)
Displaced Palestinian children lay on mats at a UN School where they took refuge during the heavy fighting in the Gaza Strip on September 7, 2014 in Beit Hanun in northern Gaza strip. Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas has threatened to break off a unity agreement with Hamas if the Islamist movement does not allow the government to operate properly in the Gaza Strip. AFP PHOTO/MAHMUD HAMS (Photo credit should read MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images)
Displaced Palestinians walk in the courtyard of a UN School where they took refuge during the heavy fighting in the Gaza Strip on September 7, 2014 in Beit Hanun in northern Gaza strip. Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas has threatened to break off a unity agreement with Hamas if the Islamist movement does not allow the government to operate properly in the Gaza Strip. AFP PHOTO/MAHMUD HAMS (Photo credit should read MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images)
Displaced Palestinian children play in the courtyard of a UN School where they took refuge during the heavy fighting in the Gaza Strip on September 7, 2014 in Beit Hanun in northern Gaza strip. Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas has threatened to break off a unity agreement with Hamas if the Islamist movement does not allow the government to operate properly in the Gaza Strip. AFP PHOTO/MAHMUD HAMS (Photo credit should read MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images)
GAZA CITY, GAZA - AUGUST 24: A Palestinian child looks from the balcony of Al Bahreyn Secondary School of United Nations in Gaza city, Gaza on 24 August, 2014. Some Palestinian families take shelter at UN schools after fleeing Israeli attacks. (Photo by Mohammed Talatene/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
GAZA CITY, GAZA - AUGUST 24: Palestinian children play in a clasrrom of Al Bahreyn Secondary School of United Nations in Gaza city, Gaza on 24 August, 2014. Some Palestinian families take shelter at UN schools after fleeing Israeli attacks. (Photo by Mohammed Talatene/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
GAZA CITY, GAZA - AUGUST 24: Palestinian children play at corridor of Al Bahreyn Secondary School of United Nations in Gaza city, Gaza on 24 August, 2014. Some Palestinian families take shelter at UN schools after fleeing Israeli attacks. (Photo by Mohammed Talatene/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
GAZA CITY, GAZA - AUGUST 24: Palestinian children play in a clasrrom of Al Bahreyn Secondary School of United Nations in Gaza city, Gaza on 24 August, 2014. Some Palestinian families take shelter at UN schools after fleeing Israeli attacks. (Photo by Mohammed Talatene/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
GAZA CITY, GAZA - AUGUST 24: A Palestinian child sits at a school desk at the corridor of Al Bahreyn Secondary School of United Nations in Gaza city, Gaza on 24 August, 2014. Some Palestinian families take shelter at UN schools after fleeing Israeli attacks. (Photo by Mohammed Talatene/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
GAZA CITY, GAZA - AUGUST 24: A view of Al Bahreyn Secondary School of United Nations that Palestinian families take shelter at after fleeing Israeli attacks in Gaza city, Gaza on 24 August, 2014. (Photo by Mohammed Talatene/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A Palestinian man sits among other displaced people sleeping on mats at a UN school in Gaza City early on August 23, 2014. Hundreds of thousands of Gazans have been displaced by fighting between Israel and Hamas since the latest hostilities began on July 8. The UN recently said that 460,000 Palestinians have been displaced by the violence which is more than a quarter of the population of the Gaza Strip. Some 280,000 of those displaced have taken shelter in UN schools. AFP PHOTO/ROBERTO SCHMIDT (Photo credit should read ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

By KHALIL HAMRA

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) - Thousands of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are still living in schools where they took refuge during seven weeks of fighting between Hamas and Israel that ended late last month.

Israeli airstrikes have left much of the territory in ruins, and thousands of homes have been destroyed or severely damaged. Reconstruction has yet to begin as a blockade imposed by Egypt and Israel on Gaza still holds, severely restricting the import of cement and other building materials.

Israel fears militants could use such materials to build rockets and reinforce cross-border attack tunnels.

With a population of 1.8 million people, Gaza is a densely populated coastal strip of urban warrens and agricultural land that still bears the scars of previous rounds of fighting. The Islamic militant group Hamas seized power in the territory in 2007.

Rebuilding Gaza will take years, and some Palestinian officials say it could cost in excess of $6 billion.

In one school in Gaza City, visited by The Associated Press, children played in a courtyard surrounded by classrooms now framed with hanging bedding and laundry.

With nearly 100,000 Palestinians in Gaza having no home to go back to, the U.N.-run schools are still housing thousands just one week before the school year is scheduled to begin, posing a challenge to authorities.

Here are a series of images by AP photographer Khalil Hamra of the daily life of Palestinians sheltering in Gaza schools.


More from AOL
Obama to outline strategy on ISIS
Summer break over, must-do tasks await Congress
3 Italian nuns found slain in Burundi convent
Read Full Story

People are Reading