The war between the Israeli army and Hamas militants in Gaza, dubbed "Operation Cast Lead", lasted for 22 unrelenting days from 27 December 2008 until 18 January 2009. In the wake of the ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, shell-shocked Palestinians returned to their homes, many damaged beyond repair, to mourn their lost relatives.
All told, 13 Israelis and more than 1300 Palestinians were killed. An estimated 4,000 buildings were destroyed qne 50,000 Gazans were left homeless. Large sections of Northern Gaza, like Beit Lahiya, El Atatra and large sections of Jabaliya, where Israeli tanks and artillery had initially entered the territory at the start of the ground war were totally devastated. The UN estimates it will cost several billion dollars to rebuild the Gaza Strip.