Five-year-old Alaa Qadoum 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.
When she saw her father, Abdullah Qadoum, Alaa ran to him, said the neighbor, Amir Omar. At that time, an Israeli airstrike struck nearby.
Hours later, Alaa was wrapped in a white shroud and Palestinian flag, her face uncovered so her grieving relatives could plant a few last kisses on her forehead before she was laid to rest. A bright pink bow tied most of her hair back.
Alaa was one of more than a dozen people killed in two days of Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, which began Friday afternoon and continued until Saturday.
Last year, at least 67 children were killed in Gaza during 11 days of fighting between Israel and Hamas. Two children died in Israel during the war.
The attacks targeted Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the second largest militant group in Gaza after Hamas.
It was unclear whether the strike that killed Alaa was intended to hit the men, the mosque or another target. Ashraf Qadoum, the relative who arrived at the mosque with Alaa’s father, and the mosque’s imam were also killed.
According to the Ministry of Health in Gaza, Alaa’s father is in critical condition. Her brother was also injured.
Fady Hanona contributed from Gaza City.