12-Year-Old Slain, Clashes Continue in Spite of Truce

From Reuters

Israeli troops fatally shot a 12-year-old Palestinian boy in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, four days after bilateral agreement was reached on a U.S.-brokered cease-fire.

Palestinian hospital officials said Ali Abu Shaweesh was killed in Khan Yunis, near the Jewish settlement of Neve Dekalim, where stone-throwing clashes took place throughout the day. Three other people were wounded, they said.

An Israeli army spokesman said Palestinians threw stones and gasoline bombs at the fence separating Khan Yunis from the Jewish settlements. When demonstrators tried to tear down the fence, soldiers fired small-caliber bullets at their legs, he said.

Under the truce, Palestinian police are supposed to stop such demonstrations, the spokesman noted.

The boy was the fourth Palestinian killed since the truce began Wednesday. An Israeli has also been killed, and less violent clashes have continued. But Israelis and Palestinians agree that the violence has subsided overall since CIA Director George J. Tenet hammered out the cease-fire plan.

A meeting scheduled for Sunday between Israeli and Palestinian security chiefs to monitor the truce and set a schedule for further implementation was postponed.

Col. Jibril Rajoub, the Palestinian security chief in the West Bank, said the session was put off because a CIA representative was unable to attend. Israel Radio said the meeting would be held today.

Before the youth was slain, a Palestinian detonated an explosives-laden donkey cart near Israeli soldiers in Gaza, and a roadside bomb blew up next to an Israeli army vehicle in the West Bank.

The troops in Gaza were not hurt, and they shot the Palestinian bomber, wounding him. The donkey died in the blast. The West Bank explosion injured two soldiers.

Meanwhile, Israel said it had started to ease a crippling blockade of the West Bank and Gaza. Palestinian officials said the measures have been largely cosmetic.

In the U.S., Secretary of State Colin L. Powell told ABC-TV's "This Week" he would make a second trip to the Mideast if the truce takes root.

On "Fox News Sunday," Powell said violence had ebbed, but added, "We have both sides accusing each other of not doing as much as they can, and this is part of my daily conversations with both of them."

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