Palestinian girl of 10 shot dead in school playground
Tuesday 01 February 2005
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which runs Rafah Elementary School B, said Norhan Deeb was hit by a rifle bullet apparently fired from an Israeli army observation post 800 metres away. "She suddenly screamed and fell bleeding," a witness said. "The children scattered in all directions."
Palestinian doctors said Noran was shot in the head and was dead on arrival at hospital. Another girl, Aysha el-Khatib, aged seven, was wounded in the hand. Bullets also broke school windows. UNRWA sent 10 counsellors to comfort the traumatised children. Yousef Ibrahim, a local human rights activist, said the shooting was unprovoked. The area was quiet.
Plainly embarrassed Israeli military sources said they knew of no shooting in the area at the time. They said they were conducting a thorough investigation in co-operation with the Palestinian security services, which were deployed in the strip last week to prevent attacks on Jewish settlements. But Johan Eriksson, a spokesman for UNRWA, said: "The only firing at that time in the Rafah area was from the observation post. It continued for some time. The children were in the yard for afternoon assembly. Teachers tried to get them into the building, but they were too late."
Peter Hansen, UNRWA's commissioner-general, said: "Despite the hopeful signs of improvement in the situation, we have again been reminded of the continuing danger to which innocent children are exposed by the realities of the occupation and the irresponsible use of arms." The Rafah school has 2,500 boy and girl pupils, aged seven to 11. Because of the overcrowded conditions, they study on a two-shift system. The shooting happened during a change of shifts.
The school has been hit many times over the past four years, but yesterday's was the first death there. UN officials said it was the fifth incident in two years in which children had been killed at Gaza schools.
The Israelis were anxious to avoid an escalation a few hours before security chiefs from both sides were to meet in Tel Aviv and cement the ceasefire, but Hamas retaliated by launching five mortar rounds at nearby settlements. Two hit Neveh Dekalim, the regional centre, causing damage to one home.
"The Zionist attacks did not stop," Abu Obeida, a spokesman for the Islamist militants, said. "As long as the enemy does not stop, firing of mortars will continue." On Sunday night, soldiers shot and killed a 65-year-old man who entered an Israeli no-go area near the Egyptian border. Elsewhere in Gaza, Israeli troops found and defused a roadside bomb.
- 1 BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
- 2 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 3 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
General Election 2015: David Cameron catching up in polls – but he badly needs a clear lead
South Africa xenophobic attacks: Shops looted and violence on streets of Johannesburg as foreigners are forced to hide in police stations
Earthworms rain down from skies over Norway, puzzling scientists
18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
General Election 2015: Polish prince challenges Nigel Farage to a duel over immigration question
£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...
£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...