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Israeli Soldiers Set Up Roadblocks in Gaza - 2002-12-22

Israeli soldiers have set up roadblocks along Gaza's main north-south road, cutting the Palestinian territory into three parts. Yesterday, Israeli troops shot and killed an 11-year-old Palestinian girl in southern Gaza.

Witnesses said Israeli soldiers opened fire as the girl walked home from school. She was the fourth young person to be killed by gunfire from Israeli soldiers in the Gaza Strip this week.

The Israeli military has not commented on the shooting.

Several hours later, a Palestinian man was shot and killed after Israeli authorities say he threw grenades and fired at troops near the heavily guarded Jewish settlement of Morag.

The militant Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine claimed responsibility for the attack.

The roadblocks were set up for security reasons, following an increase in attacks and warnings of attacks. The Gaza Strip is effectively divided into three parts. The army did not say how long the barriers would be in place.

The move follows the shooting death of a Jewish Rabbi Friday near the Gush Katif block of settlements in the Gaza Strip.

The 40-year-old father of six was shot and killed by a Palestinian gunman in a roadside ambush as he drove to a wedding celebration with his family from the Jewish settlement where they live in the Gaza Strip. None of the other family members was injured.

Meanwhile, Palestinian officials strongly criticized the United States for vetoing a U.N. Security Council resolution critical of Israel. The resolution would have condemned Israel for the recent killing of three U.N. relief workers.

Twelve other Security Council members, including Britain, voted for it while two abstained. U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte called the resolution one-sided.

According to human rights groups and Israeli government estimates, 1,700 to 2,000 Palestinians and an estimated 670 Israelis have been died in violence since September, 2000.