Israeli troops kill Palestinian teenager

A Palestinian teenager has been shot dead by Israeli soldiers near the Rafah border crossing in the southern Gaza Strip, hospital and security sources said.

    Sufi is the second Palestinian to be shot dead in two days

    Eighteen-year-old Bashir Sufi was on Thursday fatally wounded in the chest and

    abdomen by soldiers who were guarding the now empty Gaza settlement of Atsmona which lies close to the crossing into Egypt, the sources added.


    An Israeli military spokeswoman said troops fired towards three Palestinians who were trying to infiltrate the security fence around Atsmona, but did not confirm whether any had been hit.


    Sufi was the second Palestinian teenager shot dead in two days by Israeli troops guarding the abandoned Jewish settlements in southern Gaza. 



    Thursday's shooting raised to 4824 the number of people killed since the Palestinian uprising or intifada started in September 2000. The vast majority of the dead have been Palestinian. 



    Israeli troop pullout

    "The Palestinian security services and the teams who will take charge of the evacuated areas are ready"

    Unnamed Palestinian official

    Earlier, a senior Palestinian official said Israel had informed the Palestinian Authority that it will withdraw its troops from the Gaza Strip from Monday.

    "The Israelis have informed us that the withdrawal and the transfer will begin on Monday", the secretary general of the Palestinian cabinet Samir Hleileh said on Thursday.
    "The withdrawal should take place from Monday to Thursday", he added.
    "The Palestinian security services and the teams who will take charge of the evacuated areas are ready."
    Israeli Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz has recommended that troops guarding empty Jewish settlements should be withdrawn three days earlier than the scheduled 15 September departure date, having virtually dismantled all remaining infrastructure and having packed up all their equipment.
    His recommendation is expected to be formally approved at a cabinet meeting on Sunday.
    The Israeli army meanwhile said that some 1500 soldiers were taking part in an operation on Thursday to remove assorted rubbish from the main Gush Katif settlement bloc as part of final preparations for the handover.
    Body handover 

    Hezbollah confirmed  it had lost a
    fighter at Shebaa Farms 

    Meanwhile, Israeli army said on Thursday that Tel Aviv would return to Lebanon the body of a fighter from the Lebanese Hezbollah who had been killed in recent clashes with the Israeli military.

    Following a request from the Lebanese government through the International Red Cross organisation to Israel, the Israeli government will return the body to Lebanon, the army said in a statement.
    An Israeli security source said the body would be handed over to the Lebanese government in the next 48 hours.
    On 4 July, Hezbollah confirmed that it had lost one of its fighters, Melhem Hassan Salhab, in clashes with the Israeli army in the disputed Shebaa Farms border district in late June. 
    One Israeli soldier was killed and three wounded in the clashes, which sparked three days of retaliatory shelling and air strikes against southern Lebanon, from which Israel withdrew all troops in 2000.
    Israel was also to hand over a former Lebanese prisoner who is in the Jewish state illegally after serving a 14-year jail sentence for rape, drug possession and blackmail, the army said.



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