Sat, 27 Dec 2008 17:43 UTC
Ambulances and private cars rush those wounded or killed in the punishing raids to the hospital, where staff use sheets as makeshift stretchers.
In some cases, a single stretcher is used to carry several bodies. Torn limbs fall to the blood-soiled floor.
There is no space left in the morgue and bodies are piled up in the emergency room and in the corridors, while many of the severely wounded scream in pain.
Overworked doctors and nurses can only deal with the most pressing cases.
Most of the victims wear the uniforms of the security services of Hamas, the Islamist movement that runs Gaza and whose installations were targeted in the attacks Israel says were in response to rocket attacks by Gaza militants.
Morgue employees use megaphones to ask parents who throng the entrance to identify their loved ones and take the bodies for burial.
"My brother was still alive when he arrived here, and was talking to me but no one could help him. He died," said Ahmed al-Gharabli, his voice shaking and tears streaming down his cheeks. His brother Baha was a Hamas policeman.
The bloodied body of another policeman, Mohammed Abu Shaaban, is carried on the same stretcher as that of a girl aged about 10 who was hit in the stomach.
Abu Obeida al-Jarah, a police commander who was inside one of the buildings targeted by the Israeli bombs, escaped unharmed.
"We managed to get out and immediately came here to identify the bodies," he said.
"It is truly a massacre and it will not go unpunished. The blood of policemen cannot be unavenged."
The health minister in the Hamas government, Bassem Naim, worried about the dire lack of resources to deal with the large number of victims.
"Our means are too modest to respond to this terrible massacre," he told AFP.
At the best of times the health sector is stretched to the limit in this impoverished and overcrowded enclave that has been the subject of crippling sanctions since Hamas seized power in June 2007
Barefoot, her headscarf dropped on her shoulders, Asmaa Abdo rushed to the hospital immediately after the raids to inquire about the fate of her two sons, who are training to become policemen.
"I was told my sons are both dead but nobody at the hospital can tell me whether that is true," she cries, shouting insults at moderate Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and Arab states she feels failed to do anything to protect Gaza.
Abbas' forces were ousted from Gaza in the Hamas takeover.
Near the hospital, a mountain of rubble marks the spot where a 10-storey building that housed a Hamas prisoner support association once stood. Bulldozers clear the ruins as rescuers continue a grim search that has already turned up five bodies, all torn to pieces.
Verses from the Koran, the Muslim holy book, echo across the streets, broadcast from the minarets of the city's mosques. Women in tears head to the hospital.
Al-Aqsa, the Hamas television station, broadcasts images of mangled, bloodied bodies lying on the ground. A message on the screen proclaims: "The Holocaust continues" and the anchorman denounces what he calls the silence and the complicity of some Arab countries.
Comment: ... the silence and the complicity of the whole world - for decades now!