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“Was She Fighting?”: Family Of Gaza’s 5-Year-Old Killed In Israel Strike

'Was She Fighting?': Family Of Gaza's 5-Year-Old Killed In Israel Strike

Alaa Kaddum held by her grandfather Riad in Gaza.

Gaza:

A five-year-old girl was among 10 people who were tragically killed in Gaza as the region witnessed the worst escalation of violence in a year on Saturday. Israel pounded Gaza with air strikes to which Palestinian terror group Islamic Jihad responded with rockets fire.

As her family prepared for the funeral, Alaa Kaddum’s small body, wrapped in a white cloth, was held by her family members. A pink bow in her hair and a wound on her forehead was seen in the video shared by news organisation Middle East Eye.

Speaking to Middle East Eye, Alaa’s grandfather Riad asked what crime she had committed that justified her death.

“She was dreaming of going to nursery. She wanted a bag and clothes … This innocent girl. Was she in-charge of rockets or was she fighting? What did she do?” Riad asked, distraught.

While health authorities in Gaza controlled by Hamas said that 10 people had been killed and 79 injured in the bombardment, Israel’s army estimated that its operation has killed 15 terrorists.

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said the Jewish state was forced to launch a “pre-emptive counter-terror operation against an immediate threat” posed by the Islamic Jihad group, following days of tensions along the Gaza border.

Islamic Jihad is a group that while aligned with Hamas also acts independently. The terror group said that the initial Israeli bombardment amounted to a “declaration of war”, before it unleashed a flurry of more than 100 rockets towards Israel.

The rocket fire and Israeli strikes continued overnight, risking a repeat of an 11-day conflict in May 2021 that devastated Gaza.

Both Israel and Islamic Jihad confirmed the killing of a top leader with the terror group Taysir al-Jabari on Friday.

“Israel isn’t interested in a wider conflict in Gaza, but will not shy away from one either,” Prime Minister Lapid said in in a nationally televised address.

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