Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Child toll rises in Israeli air attack

An Israeli air strike on a car in the northern Gaza Strip has killed three Palestinian children and wounded 10 other people.

An Israeli military spokeswoman confirmed the strike on Tuesday, saying the car was carrying armed men from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, affiliated with the Fatah movement of Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president.

She had no immediate word on casualties, but medical sources at Shifa hospital in Gaza City said that among the 10 wounded were seven children.

The sources named the dead children as Mohammed Jamal Roqa, a five-year-old boy, and a seven-year-old girl who was not immediately identified.

Hospital officials said that a 16-year-old girl died of her wounds, and that among the other injured children, ranging in age from three and 12, three were in grave condition.

Israeli officials said the aircraft fired missiles at a car in the crowded Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza.

Witnesses said the people in the car jumped out before the blast.

The car exploded on a narrow street in the crowded refugee camp. The front of the car was badly damaged, but the back was intact.

Hundreds of Palestinians gathered around the vehicle, shouting slogans.

Targeting civiliansIsrael's Channel 2 TV said the raid was "another failed assassination attempt, and again innocent civilians were hit".

The Israeli shelling has caused several civilian casualties, drawing widespread condemnation.

An air strike last week killed eight civilians, in addition to the two targeted men.

And earlier this month, seven members of a family having a picnic on the beach were killed in an explosion that Palestinians blamed on Israeli artillery fire.

About 100,000 Palestinians live in the Jabaliya camp, just north of Gaza City.

Jabaliya is the largest refugee camp in Gaza.

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