Alaa Kadum, 5, was at her grandfather’s house in the northern Gaza Strip on Friday when her father and another relative rode a motorcycle to a nearby mosque, according to a neighbor who witnessed the scene.
When she saw her father, Abdullah Kadum, Alaa ran to him, neighbor Amir Omar said. It was at this moment that Israeli aircraft struck nearby.
Hours later, Alaa was wrapped in a white shroud and carrying a Palestinian flag, her face uncovered so that her grieving relatives could kiss her on the forehead one last time 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 airstrikes on the Gaza Strip that began on Friday afternoon and continued through Saturday.
Last year, at least 67 children were killed in 11 days of fighting between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. Two children were killed in Israel during the war.
The strikes targeted the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the second largest militant group in Gaza after Hamas.
It was not clear if the strike that killed Alaa was aimed at men, a mosque, or another target. Ashraf Kadum, a relative who arrived at the mosque with Alaa’s father, and the imam of the mosque were also killed.
According to the Gaza Health Ministry, Alaa’s father is in critical condition. Her brother was also wounded.
Fadi Hanona provided a report from Gaza.