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Last Updated: Monday, 3 January, 2005, 11:07 GMT
Israeli pullback from north Gaza
Surgeons treat wounded cameraman Majdi Al-Arabeid
Two people were wounded during the latest raid
Israeli forces have pulled out of parts of the northern Gaza Strip, which they occupied on Sunday.

The troops abandoned rooftop positions they had taken in Beit Hanoun, Jabaliya and Beit Lahiya and withdrew their armoured vehicles.

Palestinian sources said on Monday that Israeli soldiers shot and critically wounded a 17-year-old girl who was walking near the Gaza-Egypt border.

The Israeli army has made no comment on the incident so far.

Sunday's raid came a day after an operation in southern Gaza during which 11 Palestinians were killed.

Israel says such raids are intended to stop mortar and rocket attacks on nearby Jewish settlements and Israeli territory.

Palestinian militants have been carrying out such attacks regularly, although few have caused casualties.

The Israeli operations in Gaza on Sunday occurred as Mahmoud Abbas, the front-runner for the 9 January elections for a successor to Yasser Arafat, was campaigning nearby.

Mr Abbas criticised the Israeli military for carrying out the operations so close to the elections, but also called on militants to stop their rocket attacks.

Israel has promised to pull its forces out of Palestinian towns at least 24 hours before voting begins.

Dawn attack

The Israeli forces moved into northern Gaza after the Israeli town of Sderot was again hit by two missiles before dawn on Sunday. One person was reported to be seriously injured.

An Israeli soldier and a Palestinian cameraman were wounded during the raid.

The militant group Hamas said it had launched the attack on Sderot in response to the Israeli army's three-day operation in the south of Gaza.

That operation, in the Khan Younis refugee camp, began on Thursday and was the third raid there in the past two weeks.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said militants had fired 13 mortar bombs at settlements in the Gaza Strip on Saturday night and the army reserved the right to "go back in".

Israeli forces destroyed 10 homes and a market in Khan Younis during the operation, local residents said.

The Gaza Strip has been occupied by Israel since 1967.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is planning to pull out all 8,000 Israeli settlers and the troops who protect them from 21 fortified enclaves in Gaza. Israel will maintain control of Gaza's borders, coastline and airspace.

Israel and the Palestinians



Palestinian women sit on a roof top of the home of a Palestinian family in Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip on 20 November 2006. Human shields
Palestinians adopt a new tactic to deter Israeli attacks, but this is a high-risk strategy




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