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Report: Israelis Kill 1, Hurt 4 in Gaza

December 8, 2002

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GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) _ Israeli soldiers killed a Palestinian woman and wounded her three children and a second woman in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, witnesses said. Israel denied the report.

The Israeli military said soldiers shot at armed Palestinians trying to infiltrate a Jewish settlement. The military spokesman’s office said it had no information that women or children were shot.

The military said soldiers saw a group of Palestinians, some of them armed, approaching the settlement of Rafiah Yam. The soldiers opened fire on the Palestinians and saw Palestinians take four wounded away, while two others escaped, the military said.

But a Palestinian witness, Samir Abu Shahin, said Israeli soldiers opened fire at the Tel Sultan refugee camp, which is near the settlement.

``The woman and her family were walking in the middle of the street, and I saw her fall, and blood covering her body, and not far from her, the two children also fell.″

The woman, Nahla Aqel, 40, died of a bullet wound in the neck, Shahin said. Her 4-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter were critically wounded, and another woman was also badly wounded, he said. Doctors said a 7-year-old child of the slain woman was also hurt, though they did not say if it was a son or a daughter.

There are frequent attempts by armed Palestinians to infiltrate Jewish settlements in Gaza. The Palestinians demand removal of all Israeli settlements from the West Bank and Gaza.

Also, Israeli forces stage incursions into Palestinian areas on almost a daily basis. On Sunday, tanks and bulldozers tore up farmland near the Bureij refugee camp, scene of a bloody gun battle late Thursday, when 10 Palestinians were killed in a clash with Israeli troops who invaded the camp, looking for a terrorist suspect.

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