Gaza Skirmish Leaves Israeli Civilian, Palestinian Girl Dead

Swift Israeli retaliation for alleged Palestinian sniper attack

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Ashraf Amra / Zuma Press

A Palestinian relative carries the lifeless body of Hala Abu Sebakha, who medics said was killed by shrapnel during an Israeli air strike on the Al Maghazi camp, at the morgue of Al-Aqsa hospital in Deir Al Balah, central Gaza Strip, on Dec. 24, 2013.

After a Gaza sniper shot over the border to kill an Israeli civilian Tuesday, Israel retaliated with two air strikes on Hamas training camps that allegedly killed a Palestinian girl.

The man was the first Israeli killed on the Gaza border in more than a year, and the swift retaliation for his death came amid heightened suspicion of two possible Palestinian attacks– a bomb left on a bus Sunday that was found before it killed anyone, and the stabbing of a police officer on Monday, Reuters reports. 

Hamas officials said that Israel fired shells at training camps in Khan Younis and al-Bureij, and that a two-year old girl was killed by shrapnel from the blasts. She was standing outside her home near the Bureij camp when she was hit, and two of her brothers were also injured.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the sniper attack, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement that his government was treating it as a Palestinian attack. “This is an extremely grave incident and we will not ignore it,” he said. “Our policy has been to thwart (Palestinian attacks) and to respond (to them) forcefully, and that is what we will do in this case.”