(AP) For the past month it has reigned on both sides of the border separating Israel and the Gaza Strip.
Grief is in the tears of Israelis burying the 1,400 people — mostly civilians, including babies — slain by Hamas militants who stormed into Israel on Oct. 7. It is in the anguished screams of Palestinians as the bodies of some of the more than 10,000 people reportedly killed by Israeli airstrikes — 40% of them children — are pulled from the wreckage of shattered homes. An elderly Israeli woman is spirited away from a kibbutz to Gaza on the back of a motorcycle, sandwiched between a driver and a militant pointing a rifle to the sky.
Israeli soldiers walk past at least nine bodies strewn on a sidewalk next to a bus shelter with bags and belongings scattered around them. A child’s bunk bed is covered in blood.
Early scenes of Palestinian men raising their arms in victory atop an Israeli tank set ablaze during the raid quickly give way to ones of devastation: whole blocks of Gaza reduced to black-and-white wastelands as relentless missile strikes light up the night sky in balls of flame and glowing clouds of smoke. The decapitated dome of Yassin Mosque rests atop the collapsed roof of the house of worship, one of many destroyed in Gaza.
In the aftermath of explosions, men dig with bare hands in mountains of shattered concrete blocks in the search for survivors.
Two wounded boys, one with a trickle of blood running from his scalp, cry as they grasp each while being rushed for help on a stretcher.
A rescuer standing near the teeth of a giant backhoe lifts up the limp body of a dead little girl. Two bare feet poke out from under a slab of concrete and rebar next to pair of dirt-covered legs that dangle from the rubble. In Israel, the flag-draped coffins of five members of a family whose bodies were found embracing each other in death are laid to rest side-by-side after a military funeral attended by hundreds.
In Gaza, adults crowd around the corpses of seven small Palestinian children lying next to each other wrapped in plastic and covered in sheets in the Khan Younis morgue. They would appear to be sleeping if not for the bloodstains on their faces.