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Sunday, 8 December, 2002, 19:03 GMT
Woman shot dead in Gaza
Palestinians burying the Gaza victims on Friday
Friday's killings sparked Palestinian rage
Israeli troops have killed a Palestinian woman and wounded three of her children as they were walking through a refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian sources say.

Palestinian witnesses said Nahla Aqel, 41, her teenage daughter and two young sons were walking to their home in Rafah when Israeli soldiers opened fire from a position nearby.

Map of Gaza showing Rafah
The circumstances of the shooting were not immediately clear and the army said it was checking the report.

In a separate incident, the army said it had fired on armed Palestinians trying to enter the Jewish settlement of Rafiah Yam nearby. There are no details on casualties.

But a Palestinian witness quoted by the Associated Press news agency said Israeli soldiers had opened fire at the Tel Sultan refugee camp.

"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," Samir Abu Shahin said.

Israel has stepped up its military raids in the Gaza Strip in the past few weeks, saying it is seeking out Palestinian militants.

Al-Qaeda allegations

Early on Friday, Israeli forces killed 10 Palestinians in the al-Bureij refugee camp in the Gaza Strip.

There is ongoing controversy about how many of Friday's victims were unarmed civilians.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon said al-Qaeda members had entered Gaza recently
They included two United Nations workers and prompted UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to condemn the killings and urge the Israeli army to exercise greater restraint.

Israel said at least five of those killed were members of Hamas and the group itself issued a statement saying six of its people died in the raid, including two from its military wing.

On Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said that members of Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda terror network were at work in the Gaza Strip, aiming to attack Israel.

But officials from the Palestinian Authority accused the Israeli spy agency Mossad of setting up a fake al-Qaeda terrorist cell in Gaza.

Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat said that Israel had set up the mock cell in order to justify attacks in Palestinian areas.


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