Violence strains Middle East truce

Violence strains Middle East truce
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After the shooting of a Palestinian child at a UN-run school in the Gaza strip, militants fired mortar bombs at Israeli homes. There was damage to homes but no casualties. It has put further pressure on an already fragile de facto truce. Witnesses at the Rafah refugee camp said a 10-year-old girl was killed and a second wounded by gunfire while they played in their school yard. It is reported the shots appeared to come from an Israeli checkpoint.

The Israeli military says it was not aware of its forces being involved in any shooting near the position on the border with Egypt, but it has launched an investigation. Palestinian security official Mohammed Dahlan was expected to raise the issue in talks with the Israeli defence minister Shaul Mofaz last night. They were meeting to finalise an Israeli pull back from several West Bank cities. It was the second such encounter the men have had in recent days. The Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurie has condemned the killing, calling it a crime, and the wrong message to send out to the world.

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