Tanks and aircraft struck over 350 targets in Gaza, killing 25, including two pregnant women and three children
The only reason Mohamed, 26, was not dug out of the rubble of his home like the rest of his family, was because he stopped for a quick chat.
He remembers how his father, a security guard at al-Awda hospital in north Gaza, was grumpy that his oldest son was home late on Sunday evening.
But a split-second decision to say hello to a neighbour meant he was only at the gate of their five-storey building when the Israeli airstrike hit, saving his life.
His father, mother and brother were killed.
“This fire ball just consumed the top of the building and suddenly everything was dust,” Mohamed Abu Al-Jidian told The Independent at the family funeral in Beit Lahia, Gaza.
With no home left to gather in, the surviving relatives lined up plastic chairs in a nearby building site.
“I tried to go up to save my father but the fire was too strong and the debris too much. I couldn’t get to them,” he added.
The family were given no warning by the Israeli forces or the “knock on the roof” preliminary missile, as some buildings are.
Instead, there was a deadening roar as the strike chewed off the entire top floor of the building, leaving brick-toothed holes.
“There was no reason for our flat to be hit, so I thought at first the explosion must be behind the building,” he said.
The body of his 11-year-old brother Abdul-Rahman was the first to be found alongside their neighbours the al-Ghazali family.
Among the dead was a four-month-old girl.
Mohamed’s mother Raghda, and father Talal, 50, were not located until a day later: there was so much debris it took rescue workers 24 hours to claw through concrete to find them.
“I don’t understand it, my father was a hospital guard, he isn’t affiliated to any political [or armed] group. There isn’t anything in this building but people’s homes,” he added.
Over the weekend the deadliest fighting in years erupted, pushing the population of Gaza towards breaking point.'
Read more: Gaza mourns the dozens dead in latest Israeli attack: ‘I lost everything in the blink of an eye’