Vol. 5 Num 215 Fri. December 31, 2004  

5 Palestinians killed by Israeli troops

A Palestinian teenager with Down's Syndrome was killed by Israeli soldiers yesterday in a flashpoint area of the Gaza Strip, bringing the death toll from an Israeli operation there to five, medics said.

Ossama Tuma, 17, was fatally hit by bursts of automatic weapon fire in the Khan Yunis area of the southern Gaza Strip, they said.

Another teenager, 17-year-old Mohammed Abu al-Said, was also killed by Israeli fire.

Three militants, two from the armed wing of the hardline Hamas and one from the militant al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades linked to the mainstream Fatah party, were killed overnight in Khan Yunis refugee camp.

Five other Palestinians were wounded by Israeli fire, medics said.

The army said the latest operation, the third in as many days, aimed to thwart Palestinian rocket and mortar firing at the Gaza Strip's Jewish settlements.