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Palestinian Boy Reportedly Shot Dead by Israeli Troops - 2003-12-21

Palestinian officials say Israeli soldiers have killed a Palestinian boy during one of several raids into the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

A five-year-old boy was said to have died after he was shot in the chest Sunday in the Balata refugee camp near the West Bank city of Nablus.

Earlier, Palestinian witnesses said Israeli troops arrested (Adnan Asfour) an official of the militant group, Hamas, during a raid on an apartment complex in Nablus. Israeli officials have yet to comment on either incident.

In the Gaza Strip, Palestinians say Israeli forces destroyed at least five homes during an overnight raid in the Rafah area near the border with Egypt. Israeli officials say they targeted houses used for anti-Israeli activities. The officials did not say how many homes were destroyed.

This latest violence comes as both sides say they are still working on setting up a meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia to move forward on the stalled peace process. However, there is no indication Israelis and Palestinians have resolved issues that have prevented such a meeting since it was first proposed several weeks ago.