I'd glimpsed into hell ... and then the bombardment came closer

By Dan Rivers: ITV News Correspondent

What a night. The intensification of the Israeli operation started as we were broadcasting live for ITV News at Ten.

Distant thuds signalling something was happening. Then an hour later numerous flares, lighting up the Gazan night with their sulphurous glow.

The scene this morning after the intense bombardment overnight. Credit: ITV News/Dan Rivers

It was difficult to sleep. Adrenaline was still pumping through my body after a day in which I had witnessed the carnage of yet more children being torn to shreds in the streets.

I couldn’t forget the image of one man we interviewed, talking to me, his white vest stained crimson with blood, clutching a piece of someone’s skull, as he described what he’d seen.

A Palestinian child stares after an air strike in Gaza yesterday. Credit: ITV News/Dan Rivers

Around us, so many children staring in horror at the pools of blood oozing into the gutter. Brains spattered up a wall.

I’d glimpsed into hell.

I lay on my bed trying to sleep. Then sometime after 2am the bombardment came closer. Explosions reverberating through our hotel.

The view from Dan Rivers' hotel in Gaza overnight. Credit: ITV News/Dan Rivers

I entered a fitful state of exhaustion, punctuated by terror.

Finally I dozed off, my brain getting used to the lullaby of war. It didn’t last long.

Just before dawn a massive set of explosions jolted me awake. I leapt out of bed and from my balcony I could see several buildings next to the nearby port were on fire.

Plumes of smoke rise from a building in Gaza. Credit: ITV News/Dan Rivers

As I took photos I heard the scream of another missile. Like the coward I am, I ducked and ran inside as the rocket exploded, briefly tinting the sky orange.

By now the imperceptible blue light of dawn was illuminating the scene further.

The buildings were burning fiercely - and I stood on that balcony - watching and wondering what would happen next.