Five-year-old Alaa Qaddoum was at her grandfather’s home in the northern Gaza Strip on Friday when her father and another relative arrived on a motorcycle at a nearby mosque, according to a neighbor who witnessed the scene.
Neighbor Amir Omar said, when she saw her father, Abdullah Qadoum, Alaa ran towards him. At that moment an Israeli air strike hit nearby.
Hours later, Alaa was wrapped in a white shroud and a Palestinian flag, her face uncovered so her grieving relatives could put a few last kisses on her forehead before she was buried. A bright pink bow tied most of her hair back.
Alaa was among more than a dozen people killed in two days of Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip, which began on Friday afternoon and continued through Saturday.
Last year, during the 11 days of fighting between Israel and Hamas, at least 67 children were killed in Gaza. Two children were killed in Israel during the war.
The strikes targeted Islamic Jihad, the second largest armed group in Gaza after Hamas.
It was not clear whether the raid that killed Alaa was targeting the men, the mosque, or another target. Ashraf Qaddoum, a relative who arrived at the mosque with Alaa’s father and imam, was also killed.
Alaa’s father’s condition is critical, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health. Her brother was also injured.
Fadi Hannouna contributed reporting from Gaza City.