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Last Updated: Friday, 10 December, 2004, 15:44 GMT
Israeli fire 'kills girl' in Gaza
Gaza children
Children have been victims on both sides of the conflict
A Palestinian girl has been killed by Israeli fire in Gaza, officials say.

Seven-year-old Rania Siam was playing outside her house in the town of Khan Younis when she died, doctors said.

The attack came hours after three mortars fired into the nearby Jewish settlement of Neve Dekalim injured four people, one of them a child.

Israeli troops said they had fired in the direction the mortars came from. The army said it was checking reports of the girl's death.

Palestinian militant groups such as Hamas regularly fire rockets at Israeli settlements but it is rare for them to cause any casualties.

In the past, such attacks have prompted heavy Israeli military incursions into the Gaza Strip.

Missile strikes

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has announced plans to withdraw soldiers and settlers from the Gaza Strip by 2005, while maintaining overall control of the territory's borders.

But efforts to push through the plan - and to elect a new Palestinian leader after the death of Yasser Arafat in November - have been threatened by continuing violence in Gaza.

Israeli missiles targeted top militants on Thursday in separate strikes at a house in the northern Gaza Strip and a car in the south, near the town of Rafah.

Both targets of the attacks escaped with slight injuries, reports say.




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