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Jenin boy killed

Jenin (West Bank), July 25 (Reuters): An Israeli soldier accidentally killed a five-year-old Palestinian boy and wounded his two sisters in the West Bank today.

A witness said a soldier opened fire with a machinegun at a car passing through a checkpoint killing five-year-old Mohammed Qabha and wounding his two sisters.

The shooting marred a lull in violence since Palestinian militants declared a three-month ceasefire on June 29.

The army said the boy was killed in a mishap when a soldier accidentally pressed the trigger of a machinegun and fired a volley of bullets, hitting the three children.

”Due to an operational mistake, a volley was fired by the forces. As a result of the firing, a Palestinian child was killed and two Palestinian girls were wounded,” an army spokesman said. He said the army had opened an inquiry.

Army medics treated the two girls, aged six and seven, and evacuated them to a hospital in the nearby Israeli city of Afula, the spokesman said.

The shooting was at a checkpoint at the entrance to Barta'a village, just southwest of the West Bank city of Jenin.

Abbas was expected to ask Bush to put pressure on Israel to remove military checkpoints in the West Bank. Israel says the checkpoints are needed to prevent attacks on Israelis in the uprising for a Palestinian state that began in September 2000.

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