- JERUSALEM -- A nine-year-old
Palestinian boy was shot dead by Israeli forces yesterday as he played
football, local residents said after armoured vehicles once again entered
the southern Gaza town of Rafah.
- A few hours later five Palestinian gunmen were killed
in Gaza by Israeli forces protecting the approach road used by Israelis
from the Jewish settlement of Netzarim. The army said its unit returned
fire from one gunman and then shot four others who subsequently approached
the "structure" occupied by the troops.
- The boy killed in Rafah, named as Omar Za'ran, was pronounced
dead by medics at the local hospital, after he was brought in from the
Brazil section of the town's refugee camp. Bashir Abu Jlidan, 18, said:
"We were playing football when Israeli tanks ... started firing inside
the camp and towards us." He said that the boy had fallen to the ground,
- Palestinian sources said a force of 15 armoured vehicles
backed by Apache helicopters had entered the town. The army said it was
a mission to find and destroy tunnels used by militants to smuggle weapons.
It added that it was still checking reports of the boy's death.
- The army, which was still operating in Rafah last night,
said it had discovered the shaft of a tunnel under abandoned stores near
the Brazil camp. Palestinian sources said the force had begun to destroy
houses in the area.
- Meanwhile, witnesses said Israeli helicopters had fired
two missiles into Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza, injuring several people,
one critically. Israeli military bulldozers began destroying olive groves
and orchards in Beit Hanoun to strip militants of cover.
- And in a third Gaza incident, the sources said last night
that at least one Palestinian gunman had been shot dead by an army patrol
protecting the Jewish settlement of Netzarim.
- Earlier yesterday Israeli forces launched a raid into
the normally quiet West Bank town of Jericho. The army said it had arrested
30 wanted Palestinians and had found weapons, including rifles and grenades.
- © 2004 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/story.jsp?story=537262