Palestinian schoolgirl buried

About 1500 people turned out for the funeral of an eight-year-old Palestinian girl, shot dead by Israeli troops in the occupied Gaza Strip town of Khan Yunis.

    Children forced to grow up fast

    Aya Mahmud Fayyad was showing her new school uniform to her friends when Israeli soldiers fired from an observation post from a Jewish settlement, said relatives on Sunday.

    The girl’s mother, Umm Isam, told mourners at the family home that Aya had been killed as she showed off her clothing ahead of the start of the school year on Monday.

    She described Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as “a terrorist who cannot live without seeing the blood of Palestinian children”.

    The girl’s uncle, Arafat Fayyad, told the funeral there was no justification for the soldiers’ opening fire.

    “This is the Israeli army killing children without reason,” he said.

    Resistance fighters lined the streets during the funeral and called for members to retaliate.

     

    Threats

    Aya's relatives unable to deal
    with her death

    In a move likely to increase tensions, Israel threatened to reinvade the Gaza Strip unless the Palestinian authorities reined in resistance groups.

    Speaking on public radio, Israel's Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz, blamed Palestinians for failing to control the resistance fighters.

    "The option of a ground operation by the army in the Gaza Strip exists and we will do it when we judge the moment is right," Mofaz said.

    All Hamas activists are targets, he added.

    The latest threat came amid escalating violence in the region, with the Israelis accusing the Palestinian Authority of failing to tackle the resistance groups.

    Since 19 August when an explosion killed 18 bus passengers in west Jerusalem, Israel has assassinated ten Hamas activists and three civilians.

    Israeli calls side-stepped

    Solana (L) refuses to bow to
    Israeli pressure

    On the diplomatic front, European Union Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana rejected Israeli demands to shun Palestinian President Yasir Arafat.

    Solana, speaking on Sunday in Israel following talks with Israeli officials, said the EU would continue talks with the veteran Palestinian leader.

    Israel has been urging the EU to follow Washington's lead and sideline Arafat.

    The EU chief also criticised Israel's construction of a wall cutting off the occupied West Bank from the Jewish state.

    Israel claims the barrier is intended to keep out activists but Palestinians fear it will demarcate the borders of a future state.

    In a related incident, an Israeli working on the barrier was wounded when a Palestinian shot at him, reported military sources.

    And in other news, an Israeli court sentenced a Hamas member to seven consecutive life terms for dispatching two activists who detonated explosives in Tel Aviv last year.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    The War in October: What Happened in 1973?

    The War in October: What Happened in 1973?

    Al Jazeera examines three weeks of war from which both Arabs and Israelis claimed to emerge victorious.