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Last Updated: Friday, 1 June 2007, 14:27 GMT 15:27 UK
Gaza boys 'shot dead by Israelis'
Israeli soldiers man the Gaza-Israel border fence
The shooting took place near the Israel-Gaza border fence
Two Palestinian boys have been shot dead by Israeli troops in the northern Gaza Strip, Palestinian sources say.

The children were estimated to be between eight and 13 years old. They have not yet been identified.

An Israeli army spokesman said the army had shot at several Palestinians near the Gaza-Israel border fence.

He said they were crawling towards the fence near Beit Lahiya, "did not heed repeated calls to stop and planted a suspicious device close to the fence".

A separate spokeswoman said: "We identified hitting three. One was lightly injured and was taken to hospital inside Israel."

The other two were evacuated by Palestinian ambulance workers, but died.

Medical staff at a Gaza hospital said they had been hit in the chest.

They said the children had reportedly been scouring the area near the border fence for scrap metal, Reuters reported.

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