Palestinian mourners carry the coffins of 23-year-old Enas Khammash and her 18-month-daughter Bayan during their funeral in the Gaza Strip on August 9, 2018 after they were killed in an Israeli air strike
Nuseirat (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) - A Palestinian family called for answers Thursday as to why an Israeli air strike hit their relatives' home in the Gaza Strip, killing a pregnant mother and her 18-month-old daughter.
Only kilometres away, Israelis who spent the night rushing to bomb shelters due to a barrage of rockets and mortars from the Palestinian enclave said they were fed up and feared for their children.
In the Gaza Strip, Enas Khammash, 23, and her daughter Bayan were asleep when an Israeli strike hit their home, killing them both, relatives and neighbours said. The girl's father was seriously injured.
The Israeli army insisted it had only struck military sites belonging to Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza.
An army spokesman said he did not have details on the deaths of the woman and child. Gaza's health ministry said the deaths were the result of the Israeli strikes.
The strikes were in response to some 180 rockets and mortars fired by Hamas and other militant groups from Gaza late Wednesday and Thursday.
Israel said it hit more than 150 Hamas sites.
- 'Like a nightmare' -
In the family house in the Jafarawi neighbourhood of central Gaza, a strong smell of death lingered Thursday, the walls flecked with blood and mud.
The strike happened shortly after midnight.
A neighbour, Umm Walid, said she heard the sound of whimpering from the house about 30 minutes after the explosion, eventually entering to find the two bodies and Enas's husband badly injured.
"It was like a nightmare. I wish I had died before seeing this terrible scene," she said.
The house is a few hundred metres from a Hamas military base, one of several that can be found throughout Gaza -- often in heavily populated areas.
"The missile hit the mosque nearby then hit the house and caused this hole before it hit the floor of the living room," said neighbour Imad, 44 and an officer in Gaza's Hamas-dominated police force.
"Shrapnel hit the little girl and her mother."
Abdullah Khammash, a cousin, wanted to know why the house had been hit.
"There are resistance bases everywhere, we don't have any relation with it," he said, referring to Hamas sites.
"I say to Lieberman come here and see for yourself the damage. I want to ask him what was the guilt of this girl?" he added, referring to Avigdor Lieberman, Israel's defence minister.
"This girl didn't know hatred of anyone and I don't hate anyone," he said.
Later the body was carried in a small coffin for the funeral, as hundreds mourned.
- 'Shadows of rockets' -
In Israeli communities along the Gaza border, residents were also angry and tired after a sleepless night.
At least seven civilians were injured by rocket and mortar fire, officials said, including a 30-year-old Thai woman in moderate to severe condition.
Most of the rockets, though not all, hit open areas.
In the town of Sderot cars were damaged and holes left in the ground, with a building scarred by shrapnel.
Caroline Bonieli, 31 and pregnant with twins, was hospitalised after tripping as she tried to run to a bomb shelter.
"Myself, my husband and my children were at home and suddenly we heard the alert," she said.
"As I ran I fell on my stomach and felt intense pain in my stomach and leg."
She added that "it's not been a month or two. This situation has been the same for years, and we're sick of raising our children like this -- in the shadows of rockets, alarms and explosions".
Alon Davidi, mayor of the town, called on the Israeli army to invade Gaza again.
"I hope that we (Israel) will go for a strong ground campaign in Gaza," saying Hamas needed to be taught a lesson.
Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, two years before Hamas seized control.
The two have fought three wars since 2008 and analysts say another full-blown conflict remains likely.
The last conflict in 2014 included an Israeli ground campaign inside the Gaza Strip.