"We only have rockets. Israel has F-16s, Apache helicopters, tanks," said Mohammed Abdullah, 38. "If Israel decides to enter by land, all we will have is God on our side."
He was planning to move his family into the centre of Gaza City to stay with his wife’s relatives, hoping they would be a bit safer there. The family was woken in the early hours of Saturday by the sound of a bomb falling next to their home and on to the headquarters of Ismail Haniya, the Hamas prime minister.
The blast blew in glass from his windows and petrified Mr Abdullah’s young children, although none was injured.
Police stations and the homes of Hamas commanders were also hit. Huge bombs were dropped on open fields which could be used as rocket-launching sites or to blow up landmines on possible invasion routes for Israel’s 63-ton Merkava battle tanks.
The streets of Gaza, usually a chaotic mass of noisy humanity, were empty. Only a few furtive-looking figures hurried through the streets, glancing up nervously towards the constant whine of circling Israeli drones.
Without air raid sirens, bomb shelters, an open border to escape through or a conventional army to protect them, families could only put their faith in God and hope it would be over quickly.
In public, there was defiance. "This is different to last time in 2008, there is bombing throughout the night, targeting government offices," said Abdullah Mohammed, 30, one of the lucky few with a permit allowing him to flee into Egypt.
"This time they are fiercer, they are targeting infrastructure and government offices," said Sami Mohammed, an architect. "But resistance is fiercer."
In private, many people were prepared to admit to dismay that it was happening again. Some of those with homes near strategic points that might soon become battlefields, or targets for Israeli bombers, admitted to feelings of dread at what could be to come. A few even said they had pleaded with Hamas not to launch rockets from near their homes — a sure-fire way to summon up an Israeli airstrike in response.