Palestinian boy (9) killed by Israeli army


Israeli soldiers shot dead two Palestinian boys aged 9 and 15 in a confrontation with stone-throwing protesters in the northern Gaza Strip on Saturday, Palestinian medics said.

In West Bank violence, medics said soldiers killed a Palestinian civilian in a similar stand-off in Balata refugee camp, a militant stronghold. Military sources said the man had fired a rifle at troops, who then shot him.

Medics said troops shot dead 9-year-old Ehab Shattat and Ishaq Abu Taleb, 15, in two separate incidents in Beit Hanoun, where Israeli forces have been operating to round up militants  since Monday. An adult was seriously wounded.

Military sources said soldiers fired warning shots into the air when protesters threw cement blocks and stones at them. The Israeli army said it was checking the report of Ehab's death and had no immediate comment on the teenager's killing.

Shortly beforehand, several hundred mourners had gathered in Beit Hanoun to bury a 22-year-old Palestinian killed during clashes with soldiers in the town on Friday.

Beit Hanoun, home to 30,000 Palestinians, has been besieged by military forces since Monday, when Palestinian militants near the area launched makeshift rockets at a southern Israeli town, killing two Israelis, including a three-year-old boy.

Military sources have said the soldiers could remain in the area for months to prevent further rocket attacks. Palestinian militants fired two more makeshift rockets towards southern Israel on Saturday, causing no casualties.