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Gazans seized with fear, sorrow amid Israeli airstrikes

The picture shows relatives of the 5-year-old Palestinian girl Allaa Qadoum hugging her body in Gaza City, on Aug. 5, 2022. (Photo by Yasser Qudih/Xinhua)

by Saud Abu Ramadan, Emad Drimly

GAZA, Aug. 6 (Xinhua) -- Fear and panic dominated the face of Asmaa Al-Najjar, a 10-year-old Palestinian girl, after the Israeli warplanes bombed an apartment adjacent to their home in the Tel Al-Hawa neighborhood, west of Gaza City.

She told Xinhua in a trembling voice that "Israeli shelling took place when I was in the room with my brother, which frightened us a lot."

Children mourn during the funeral of Tamim Hijazi, 24, in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis, Aug. 6, 2022. At least 15 Palestinians have been killed and 125 injured as Israeli warplanes are continuing to strike military targets throughout the Gaza Strip for the second day on Saturday. (Photo by Yasser Qudih/Xinhua)

The exchange of fire between Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) continued for the second day on Saturday. The Israeli military continued bombing dozens of targets belonging to the militant group in the Gaza Strip, while hundreds of rockets were launched from the Palestinian enclave toward Israel.

At least 15 were killed, including a five-year-old girl, two women, seven militants, and 125 injured in the Gaza Strip, said the Palestinian Health Ministry on Saturday.

Smoke billows following an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, on Aug. 6, 2022. (Photo by Rizek Abdeljawad/Xinhua)

The Palestinian social media platforms were filled with pictures and videos of the 5-year-old girl Allaa Qadoum, who was killed on Friday in the strike. Her parents cried while carrying her body wrapped with a Palestinian flag.

The girl's grandfather said with tears in his eyes: "Allaa was playing in front of the house when the Israeli warplanes bombed a target in the vicinity of the place and a shrapnel penetrated her head."

The gray-haired old man asked "what was the fault of Allaa for being targeted and killed? Was she firing missiles at Israel?"

The girl was about to enter kindergarten at the end of this month and asked for new clothes and a new schoolbag, he told Xinhua.

Israel hasn't commented on the death of the girl.

Palestinians inspect the rubble of a house after an airstrike in Gaza City, Aug. 6, 2022. (Photo by Rizek Abdeljawad/Xinhua)

The residents of Gaza said the airstrikes were a big shock and unexpected when lots of families were preparing for a weekend on the beach of Gaza to escape from the summer heat and the power shortage.

Following the intensive airstrikes, the streets of the enclave's cities and towns seemed almost empty of pedestrians and traffic, with only firefighters' vehicles and ambulances driving around.

All cafes and hotels overlooking the seaside were closed after the customers left immediately, and commercial activities were almost paralyzed.

Mohammed al-Sa'adi, a resident of "Falastin" residential tower, which was attacked by the Israeli fighter jets on Friday, told Xinhua that "the bombing happened suddenly without warning when we were inside the apartment."

Salama Ma'rouf, the spokesman of the Hamas-run government in Gaza, told Xinhua that 650 housing units have been destroyed since Friday.

"The Israeli escalation has damaged many citizens' houses and civil institutions, which was in clear violation of international laws," he stressed.

The spokesman called on the international community to stop "Israeli aggression against the Palestinians." ■