GAZA CITY (AFP) - Adel Zaanoun thought himself hardened after 16 years of covering the violence in Gaza as a reporter for AFP. But the past three weeks of Israel's war on Hamas have been the most terrifying of his life. "Each time I've left home, I've not known whether I would return," he says. Particularly shocking was a visit to Al-Shifa hospital the night Israel began bombing the Gaza Strip on December 27. "I thought I was unshockable after years covering the tragedy of Gaza as part of AFP's team of reporters here, but I was still taken aback by the mess at Al-Shifa hospital on the first night of the bombing. "There was blood, pieces of flesh and body parts strewn everywhere. Women and children as well as Hamas fighters. It was the stuff of nightmares. "As a reporter in Gaza for the best part of a decade and a half, I've often had to dash to Al-Shifa, the main hospital in Gaza City, at all times of day and night to cover the aftermath of Israeli airstrikes, and have grown used to working in conditions that few reporters can imagine. "But there's no doubt that the last three weeks have been the hardest so far of my professional career. "I've also never had to work in such trying conditions. Although we are used to power cuts here, they usually only last for a few hours, and the phone lines have been cut pretty much most of the time.