Men, women and children travelled from the places where they have sought refuge to inspect their damaged homes.
With children and pets in their arms and their belongings loaded onto donkey carts or car roofs, thousands of displaced Gaza Palestinians have set off for home as a four-day Israel-Hamas truce began.
The din of war was replaced on Friday by the horns of traffic jams and sirens of ambulances making their way through crowds emerging from hospitals and schools where they had taken refuge.
For nearly seven weeks, Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip had been relentless.
Some 1.7 million of the territory’s 2.4 million people are estimated to have been displaced, and more than half of homes damaged or destroyed, the United Nations says.
But on Friday morning, no shots were heard in Khan Younis, in the south of the Palestinian territory.
Crowds of men, women and children travelled on foot, carts or tuk-tuks with the few belongings they had taken with them when the war started.
Large parts of Gaza have been flattened by thousands of air raids, and the territory faces shortages of food, water and fuel.
Israeli warplanes dropped leaflets warning people in the south not to head back to the north, where it had previously told Palestinians to leave for their safety.
“The war is not over yet,” they read. “Returning to the north is forbidden and very dangerous!!!”