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Monday, December 11, 2006

Three children shot dead in Gaza * Son of senior Palestinian intelligence officer killed in drive-by shooting at Gaza school

http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2006/12/three-children-shot-dead-in-gaza-son-of.html

BBC
Monday, 11 December 2006, 09:48 GMT

Three children shot dead in Gaza
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/low/middle_east/6167835.stm

Gunmen in Gaza City have shot dead the three sons of an
intelligence chief linked to the Palestinian party Fatah.

One adult was also killed in the attack which took place in a
street crowded with children on their way to school.

The boys' father was named as Baha Balousheh, who led a crackdown
on the now-ruling Hamas movement 10 years ago.

The BBC's Alan Johnston in Gaza says the motive is unclear but Mr
Balousheh's position means he would have made many enemies.

Tensions between Fatah and the Hamas government have frequently
led to gun battles in the streets of Gaza that have killed dozens
of people.

The attack came a day after gunmen shot at Interior Minister
Saeed Seyam's convoy in Gaza. Mr Seyam, who is a senior Hamas
leader, was unharmed in that incident.

Pandemonium

The attack happened as children were arriving at nine schools
which line Palestine Street in Gaza City's central Rimal district.

The gunmen fired more than 70 bullets at the vehicle in which Mr
Balousheh's children, aged between six and 10, were travelling.
At least two other children were hurt.

Inside the white vehicle with its blacked out passenger windows,
the seats and a school bag were covered in blood.

There were scenes of pandemonium as hundreds of children and
parents ran for cover from the gunfire.

Fatah supporters gathered in the streets vowing revenge for the
attack.

Fadwa Nabulsi, a 12-year-old interviewed by the Associated Press,
said she was outside a school with her nine-year-old brother,
Wael, when the shooting started.

"We saw fire coming from one car. We started screaming and
children started running.

"I was crying, and I lost Wael for about half an hour. Then I
found him hiding in a falafel shop. I'm trying to find my father
to take us back home," she said.

'Ugly crime'

Palestinian police in the area have been trying to help children
locate their parents and Gaza City's Shifa hospital has been
flooded with inquiries from concerned families.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum condemned Monday's attack as an
"awful, ugly crime against innocent children".

He blamed elements who wanted to undermine Palestinian interests
by creating chaos and confusion.

Hamas won a landslide victory in elections in January but its
funding has been choked off by Western donors because it refuses
to renounce violence and recognise Israel.

Fatah leader and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas
has been considering a request by his allies to hold early
elections to resolve an impasse in efforts to form a unity
government.

Hamas denounced the proposal to hold another election as a "coup
against democracy".

***
Associated Press
Dec. 11, 2006

Son of senior Palestinian intelligence officer killed in drive-by
shooting at Gaza school
http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/003200612111256.htm

Gaza City, Dec. 11 (AP): Palestinian gunmen on Monday killed the
9-year-old son of a senior Palestinian intelligence officer in a
drive-by shooting in a street packed with hundreds of school
children, an unprecedented attack at a time of heightened tension
between rival militias.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

The dead boy was identified as Osama Balousheh, son of
intelligence officer Baha Balousheh, a loyalist of Palestinian
President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement. A decade ago, Balousheh
was one of the lead interrogators in a crackdown on the
now-ruling Islamic militant Hamas movement.

The shooting attack took place in a street lined with nine
schools. The gunmen pumped dozens of bullets into the car Osama
Balousheh was riding in, Palestinian security officials said. The
driver was seriously wounded. The boy's father was not in the area.

In all, seven people were wounded, including two adults and five
children, all in serious condition.

As the shots rang out, children dropped to the ground or fled,
screaming.

``I was walking with my young brother, Wael, who is 9, and we
just crossed the street in order to take him to the school when
shooting took place,'' said 12-year-old Fadwa Nabulsi, still
shaken by the bloody scene.

``We saw fire coming from one car. We started screaming and
children started running. I was crying, and I lost Wael for about
half an hour. Then I found him hiding in a felafel shop. I'm
trying to find my father to take us back home,'' she said.

Dozens of Palestinian police in the area where trying to calm the
children and help them locate their parents.


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