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Palestinian Child Killed in Israeli Attack in Gaza - 2004-02-07

A 12-year-old Palestinian boy was killed and at least eight others were injured in an Israeli air strike in Gaza City on Saturday.

Palestinian witnesses said an Israeli helicopter gunship fired a missile at a car driving through one of the main streets in Gaza City at midmorning.

Palestinian doctors said 12-year-old Tarek Sousi was killed as he walked nearby. Among the injured was Azziz Mahmoud al-Shami, a cousin and bodyguard of Abdullah al-Shami, one of the leaders of the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad.

Four months ago Israel tried unsuccessfully to assassinate Abdullah al-Shami in a missile strike on his home. Islamic Jihad has carried out dozens of suicide bombings in Israel over the past decade.

Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia condemned the attack as a cowardly aggression and accused Israel of trying to escalate tensions.

Israel has carried out a number of similar attacks in which leaders of Palestinian militant groups are targeted. The most recent Israeli air strike occurred in December when a helicopter fired two missiles at a car carrying Hamas militants. Eleven people were wounded in that incident.

In the West Bank, meanwhile, Israeli troops arrested a man near Tulkarem overnight. They said the man was planning an attack inside Israel.

Security sources said that he was an Islamic Jihad activist.

Two Israeli soldiers were wounded on Thursday when two anti-tank missiles were fired at their patrol near Rafah close to Israel's border with Egypt. Palestinian sources said that two people, including a two-and-a-half year-old child, were wounded when the troops returned fire.