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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 January, 2005, 16:26 GMT
Boy with toy gun shot by Israelis
Relatives of 14-year-old Salah Ikhab mourn during his funeral in the village of Tubas
Relatives held the funeral on what should have been a festival day
Israeli soldiers have shot dead a Palestinian boy who was playing with a toy rifle, after apparently mistaking him for a gunman.

Troops patrolling Tubas, a West Bank village near Jenin, fired at the boy, aged 13 or 14, after he aimed the toy weapon at them, witnesses said.

He was with a group of children who were taunting the soldiers.

An Israeli military source confirmed troops had opened fire on a crowd after spotting what appeared to be a gunman.

Palestinian medical sources said the boy, Salah Ikhab, died in an ambulance on his way to hospital after being shot in the chest.

Witnesses and medical sources told the AFP news agency the boy had been given the toy as a present for the Eid holiday.

Israeli troops in Gaza also shot and killed a 13-year-old boy, Salah Abu Alaes, as he was walking with his family near the entrance to Rafah's sprawling refugee camp, Palestinian hospital officials said.

The officials were not able to give details on the circumstances of the shooting and the Israeli army had no immediate comment.

The incidents came as Israeli military chiefs met Palestinian security officials to discuss ways to avert a major military offensive in the Gaza Strip, in response to attacks on Israelis.




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