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Gaza crisis is 'worst ever seen'

A British peace activist working in Gaza today described the crisis as "the worst she has ever seen".

Jenny Linnell arrived in August with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) and has spent the last four days documenting the attacks from a refugee camp in Rafah, on the border with Egypt.

The 33-year-old has travelled to the region before and said she believes the current military action is "unprecedented".

The Gaza Strip was turned into a war zone after Israel launched air strikes against what it claims were Hamas-run installations.

Since Saturday, 374 Palestinians have been killed and today the British Government announced it will give 10 million dollars towards emergency humanitarian aid.

Ms Linnell, a vegan chef from Totnes, Devon, said the feeling amongst civilians is the worst is yet to come and they fear a land invasion soon.

She said: "The Palestinian people have had years of coping with atrocities but they have never seen anything like this before, nothing on this scale.

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"There is no such thing as normal life here at the moment, everyone knows anyone can be hit at anytime.

"It is incredibly tense as the raids are indiscriminate, there are a vast number of civilian casualties and fatalities."

Ms Linnell, whose family live in Leicester, said she is able to stay in contact with them apart from during the attacks when the phone networks go down.

On her previous visit in 2003 with ISM she said she witnessed "children killed and houses demolished" but said nothing was like this week.

"This is unprecedented," she said. "These are the worst atrocities I've ever seen. The worst in the whole history of Gaza."

Ms Linnell said her role was to witness and record what is going on in the war-torn area.

She said: "Shortly before 7am on Sunday, an Israeli missile strike hit the residential neighbourhood of Hi Alijnina in Rafah.

"A pharmacy was targeted, totally destroying the building and causing severe damage to surrounding homes.

"Electricity lines were torn down during the blast and the street was littered with medicines.

"Later that day, the Israeli air strikes on Rafah escalated with a multiple hit on the area bordering Egypt.

"Over 10 missiles were fired in quick succession, targeting tunnels which have allowed a certain amount of food and other basic necessities into the besieged Gaza Strip."

Ms Linnell said she is travelling today to the site of another missile strike and warned there was a feeling "that this conflict will now escalate".

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