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The BBC's Jeremy Cooke
"The baby was among several children caught up in the shellfire"
 real 56k

The BBC's Frank Gardner
"The Israelis say they were responding to mortar attack"
 real 56k

Khalid al-Ammayreh of Middle East International
"The Israelis would seek to by-pass the [Mitchell] report altogether"
 real 28k

Monday, 7 May, 2001, 14:44 GMT 15:44 UK
Israeli attack kills baby girl
Palestinians flee from gunfire that killed baby girl
Boys flee Israeli fire in Khan Younis refugee camp
A baby has been killed and dozens of others injured by Israeli fire in Gaza and the West Bank after Israel rejected American ideas for ending seven months of violence.

Medical officials said the four-month-old girl, Iman Hajo, died as Israeli forces shelled Khan Younis town and refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip.

Shrapnel went into [the baby's] abdomen and came out of her back

Hospital official in Gaza
"Shrapnel went into her abdomen and came out of her back," a doctor at Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis told Reuters news agency.

The baby's mother Suzanne Hajo, was seriously wounded in the attack and 24 others were slightly injured.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said he was sorry and that Israel troops did not intend to harm children.

The death brings the number killed since September, according to some reports, to 513, of which 425 - a considerable have been on the Palestinian side.

Shell holes in building where Palestinian baby died
Iman was killed by shrapnel from shell which hit her building
Meanwhile, the Israeli army kept up pressure in the West Bank, entering two more Palestinian-controlled areas and destroying a Palestinian police post at Tulkarm with bulldozers.

Eleven Palestinians were injured during an exchange of machine-gun fire.

On Sunday, Mr Sharon flatly rejected a US-led commission's plea to end building Jewish settlements on occupied land.

Mr Sharon was responding at a cabinet meeting to an unpublished report into the seven months of violence by an international team led by former American senator George Mitchell.

The Mitchell report was handed to the Israelis and the Palestinians on Friday and they were asked not to make any public comment on it for a fortnight.


But there have been several leaks: One extract says that it will be hard to stop the violence unless all settlement building in the West Bank and Gaza Strip is frozen.

Report findings?
Freeze on settlements
Neither side blamed for violence
No peacekeeping force needed
Criticises Palestinian security forces
Israel to end use of rubber-coated bullets
Mr Sharon reluctantly met the Mitchell commission when it was gathering evidence in Israel. But he described the investigation as an "historic mistake".

Mr Sharon said on Sunday that settlements should only be discussed "within the framework of the final status negotiations," according to Israeli radio.

Palestinians have broadly welcomed the report because of its recommendation on settlement building.

But their most often repeated demand - for a peacekeeping force to be sent to the region - is not echoed in the report, according to sources.


Israel has rebuffed a call by Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat for a summit to discuss the findings of the Mitchell report.

Smoke rises over Beit Jala
Smoke rises over Beit Jala after Israeli bombardment
Responding to Mr Arafat's initiative, Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres said on Saturday that such a meeting would be possible only if it was clear "what its outcome will be and how it will start".

"It cannot start while the shooting continues... Either you shoot or you talk," he told Israeli television.

Mr Arafat called for an international summit in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh to discuss the report.

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See also:

05 May 01 | Middle East
Report criticises Israeli settlements
04 May 01 | Middle East
Mid-East report under scrutiny
27 Apr 01 | Middle East
Israel considers peace plan response
23 Apr 01 | Middle East
Palestinians admit suicide bombing
25 Apr 01 | Middle East
Gaza blast kills four
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