A 17-year-old girl was critically wounded Saturday evening when a Qassam rocket landed in a residential area in the southern city of Sderot, hours after IDF troops killed eight Palestinians in Gaza raids to end mortar fire on nearby settlements.
The brother of the 17-year-old girl was also injured in the attack. He was initially evacuated to hospital with light injuries, but his condition was later downgraded to serious but stable. Both siblings suffer from head injuries.
Three other people were hurt in the attack. One person was lightly wounded and two more were treated for shock. All four were rushed to Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon.
Dozens of Sderot residents gathered in the town's center late on Saturday to protest continued Qassam attacks. The city council convened for an emergency meeting and decided to declare Sunday a municipal day of mourning.
All municipal and educational institutions will be closed, and the city has requested that businesses stay closed.
The city will be draped with black flags, and residents plan a protest march toward the Beit Hanun in the Gaza Strip on Monday or on Tuesday.
Hamas claimed responsibility for the shelling.
IDF forces killed eight Palestinians in violence over the weekend. Four Palestinians were killed in southern Gaza's Zeitoun neighborhood. Forces, accompanied by armored vehicles, entered the neighborhood early on Saturday. The raid was called following Thursday night's double suicide bombing at the Karni border crossing which claimed the lives of six Israeli civilians.
The four were identified as Issa Kishko, 20 and Abdullah Soussi, 18, Hamas militants, and Yihye Abu Moheisen, 25 and Fawzi Yassin, 21, Fatah militants.
IDF forces killed a gunman who was firing on vehicles traveling on the Kissufim highway, which leads to the Gush Katif settlement bloc. The gunman was identified as Islamic Jihad militant Abdel Rauf Abu Namus, 20. A second gunman managed to flee.
In the southern Gaza town of Rafah, an IDF tank fired two shells and machine guns at Palestinians near the border with Egypt, killing two people and wounding 10, hospital officials said. The dead were identified as Nidal Abu Tayur, 22 and Khazem al-Khut, 20, Fatah and Islamic Jihad militants.
Among the wounded were four children under the age of 16, two of them in critical condition, doctors said.
Palestinians shot at IDF troops operating in the Balata refugee camp in the West Bank city of Nablus late Saturday. No casualties were caused in the incident and the soldiers pulled out of the area.
IDF troops on Friday night shot dead a Palestinian militant near the Khan Yunis refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip. The troops opened fire on three Palestinian militants who were allegedly planting a bomb near the settlement of Ganei tal in the same region. Mohammed al-Usstaz, 30 from Khan Yunis was killed in the incident.
Boy, 7, wounded in settlement blastA seven-year-old resident of the Gaza Strip settlement of Netzarim was moderately wounded and a man was wounded lightly Saturday after Palestinian militants fired a mortar shell at a house in the settlement.
Paramedics rushed the wounded to Soroka Medical Center in Be'er Sheva for treatment. They said the boy's hand was wounded during the blast, and was amputated.
Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.
Gaza settlements under mortar fireFour mortar shells were fired at settlements in the Gaza Strip on Saturday.
Three mortar shells were fired at a Jewish settlement in the central Gaza Strip Saturday morning, Israel Radio reported.
No injuries were reported, however the mortars did cause damage to nearby property.
Later Saturday morning, another mortar shell landed in an Israeli settlement in the northern Gaza Strip, Israel Radio reported.
No one was injured, however there was some damage to property.
Palestinian family urges reopening investigation
The family of a 13-year-old Palestinian girl shot dead by IDF troops has urged the military prosecutor to reopen an investigation into the circumstances of her death.
The girl, Iman al-Hamas, was killed last October when she approached the Girit outpost in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip. The commander of the company which fired on her - known as "Captain R" - is currently facing trial on charges related to the incident.
The family's lawyers, Michael Sfard and Leah Tzemel, are urging the military prosecutor to investigate the entire chain of command involved in last October's events.
Pointing out that R's indictment does not relate to the girl's death, but rather to allegations that he fired shots at Al-Hamas after she was already wounded and prone, the attorneys have asked the prosecutor to change the indictment to consider the death itself, and to investigate who gave the order authorizing the shooting: the company commander or a higher-ranking officer.
The military prosecutor's office explains that the charges are not related to the death of the girl because it is impossible to know which soldiers fired the shots that caused her death. The attorneys have asked to focus on who gave the order to shoot.
The military prosecutor promised to respond to the request by Monday. If it is rejected, the lawyers will consider appealing to the High Court of Justice.
Meanwhile, Captain R's trial is underway at the Central Military Court of the Southern Command.
On Thursday, the prosecution provided the court with testimony from a soldier who lodged a complaint against R, one of his commanders, who was in a nearby observation post when the incident took place.
During the cross-examination, conducted by defense attorney Yoav Meni, the soldier acknowledged that he had contacted the Hebrew daily Yedioth Aharonoth and provided them with details of the incident. He explained his decision by stating he did not believe that his battalion commander, Lieutenant Colonel Ofer, would answer his request to investigate the complaint.
The look-out testified that from his vantage point he was not able to see if the bullets that R fired hurt the girl while she was lying on the ground. He saw only a spray of sand near the girl, which indicated shooting. A cassette of an argument between the look-out and the company commander, procured by the IDF's Criminal Investigation Division, was played in court.
Observers in the hall said the look-out sounded hesitant, even doubtful, during the debate, as the events occurred.
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