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A Bedouin girl was critically wounded on Wednesday when she sustained bullet wounds to the head in the northern Negev. The shots were apparently fired by an Israel Defense Forces soldier.

The military police has opened an investigation into the incident.

The girl, 12, was hospitalized at the Soroka Medical Center in Be'er Sheva with life-threatening wounds.

The girl, who had been herding her sheep in the area of the incident, was brought to an IDF base near Kibbutz Orim in the northern Negev in the early afternoon by a Bedouin man. The man said that the girl had been shot by IDF soldiers after she had wandered into a firing zone.

The paramedic who treated the girl confirmed that she had severe head wounds.

The girl was evacuated to the hospital by ambulance. The IDF has not confirmed any details of the incident.

It is still unclear whether the girl's family had a permit for herding in the area of the incident. The herding season has begun and many Bedouin complained that there is a shortage in herding permits.

Since 1999, no new herding permits have been issued.

Last year, the issue of herding permits resurfaced after a 12-year-old boy was killed when a dud mortar exploded while he was herding his flock in a firing zone near Kiryat Gat without a permit.

Over a week ago, 120 shepherds infiltrated a firing zone with their herds to protest the shortage of permits.