On an eerily deserted street in the al-Karama district of Gaza City, the Abu Sinan family was waiting - in vain - for a taxi.
Clutching two blue plastic bags full of clothing and a black backpack, 19-year-old Tariq alternated between scanning the road for a vehicle and casting his eyes to the sky, from where the buzz of Israeli drones could be heard.
Their intended destination was just a few miles across town. "We think it's a safer area," he said. "Here, there is a lot of empty ground. We see the resistance firing rockets every day, so there are a lot of air strikes." He had no idea how long the family would be away from home: "Until it's over."
A growing number of desperate Gazans appeared to be on the move. One man said that he had taken his wife and baby to Khan Younis, a city in the southern half of the Gaza Strip, in the hope that it was safer.
A woman who took her family to spend the night in a community centre said she had found no respite from the bombing: "We discovered everywhere is equal on the safety scale."
People are beginning to feel like rats in a cage as Israel pummels the tiny territory with missiles and steps up preparations for a possible ground invasion.
The Israeli Defence Forces struck 200 targets overnight; tanks and troops are massing on Gaza's borders; up to 75,000 reservists are being called up. The immediate area around Gaza has been declared a closed military zone.
The psychological impact on Gaza's population of the offensive is as much a weapon of war as the bombing itself. People in Gaza City say their children are terrified and unable to sleep.