Israeli Troops Kill 2 Palestinian Teens

The Associated Press
Friday, June 1, 2007; 2:49 PM

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip -- Israeli troops shot and killed two 13-year-old Palestinians near the Gaza-Israel border fence Friday, saying they were crawling toward the barrier in a "suspicious manner." The boys had told their families they were going to the beach.

Also Friday, an Islamic Jihad militant was killed in an Israeli missile strike while riding his motorcycle in southern Gaza, Palestinian security officials said. Earlier in the day, Islamic Jihad said it fired two rockets toward Israel. No one claimed responsibility for two more rocket launches, and no one was hurt

The rockets and Israeli retaliatory strikes began in mid-May, wrecking a five-month cease-fire on the Gaza-Israel border. The violence will be on the agenda when Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert meet next week.

More than 60 Palestinians, most of them militants, have been killed in the Israeli airstrikes; two Israelis have been killed by rockets.

In the border fence shooting in northern Gaza, Ahmed Abu Zeibeida and Zaher al-Majdalawi, both 13, were shot in the chest and stomach by Israeli troops, rescue workers said.

A third was injured and taken to an Israeli hospital, the army said. The hospital said he was in moderate condition suffering from several gunshot wounds and gave his age as 16. The army said he was unarmed.

Troops spotted the Palestinians crawling in a "suspicious manner" and putting an object near the fence, the army said. The soldiers shot only after calling on the boys to stop advancing, the army said. The boys' families said the youths had said they were going swimming.

"They are only kids ... they were executed," said a brother of one of the boys, Talaat al-Majdawli. Zaher al-Majdawli sells sweets outside their home to earn money for the family. This Friday, the first of the summer vacation, he asked his father to go the beach instead, his brother said.

"No one dares to reach this area to install rockets," Al-Majdawi said.

Ahmed Abu Zeibeida had said he was going to the beach, said his brother, Suleiman Abu Zeibeida, 23. A funeral was held for the boys, who were neighbors, in the Jebaliya refugee camp.

© 2007 The Associated Press