Local people fled the area on the eastern edge of the city at the start of the fighting and did not return until the truce, which was in its sixth day on Wednesday.
“We were shocked to see this destruction. We were shocked to see our homes, our streets, our lands, our yards and everything demolished,” said Gihad Nabil, who was recently married and had been living in Abu Ta’imah with his wife.
Standing on a roof with a view of ruined buildings and mounds of rubble as far as the eye could see, he said the area had been home to about 5,000 or 6,000 people before the Hamas raid. He asked where they would go.
“My house is completely destroyed. My brother’s home, my uncle’s, my neighbour’s, all of them destroyed. We don’t need this truce, we need a complete ceasefire,” he said, likening what he was seeing to an earthquake zone.
As Nabil and another man sat on the roof, talking and smoking a shisha pipe, a group of children down below sat around a small fire built on a pile of rubble and warmed-up bread, which they shared.
The hostilities have displaced 80pc of Gazans from their homes, according to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who on Wednesday described the situation as an epic humanitarian catastrophe.