Israeli soldiers shot and critically wounded a 13-year-old Palestinian boy today.
The boy was shot in the Palestinian refugee town of Jenin as troops opened fire on a group of youths who the Israeli military said had been throwing stones.

Live bullets struck the boy in the head and stomach, Palestinian medical officials said.

The boy, who was named as Ahmed Ismail Khatib, was transferred to an Israeli hospital for treatment.

Israeli soldiers were in the town pursuing Islamic Jihad militant Husam Jarradat, Palestinian witnesses told the Associated Press.

Israeli troops and Palestinian gunmen exchanged fire near the home of the man, and Palestinian sources said he had escaped from the area.

Jenin was the scene of fierce fighting in April 2002 when 58 Palestinians were killed in an Israeli army offensive.

Meanwhile today, Mahmoud al-Zahar, a leader of Hamas, said the Palestinian militant group will only renew a truce that expires at the end of the year if Israel halts attacks and frees Palestinian prisoners, according to Reuters.

Israel has released 900 Palestinians since the start of the ceasefire, but still has over 8,000 detainees, including hundreds arrested in recent raids on the West Bank, Reuters said.

In other developments, US senator Hillary Clinton will travel to Israel next week and meet with the prime minister, Ariel Sharon, to discuss security issues.

The trip is her second to the country since becoming a senator in 2000. She last visited Israel in 2002.

Ms Clinton, a member of the senate armed services committee, is travelling as part of the US delegation to a conference beginning on November 11 to discuss relations between the US and Israel.

She also plans to tour a portion of Israel's controversial security fence. Ms Clinton has supported Israel's right to construct the wall, which opponents claim has encroached on Palestinian territory and damaged the Palestinian economy.

Ms Clinton, a Democrat representing New York, is up for re-election for a second term in 2006, and commentators said a show of support for Israel may help her popularity among the city's Jewish community.


source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Sto...607824,00.html