GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) _ Israeli soldiers shot and killed a 10-year-old Palestinian girl and killed two other Palestinians in a missile strike Friday during a massive offensive into the northern Gaza Strip, witnesses and hospital officials said.
The deaths brought the number of Palestinians killed to 88 since Israel began its offensive Sept. 29 to stop Palestinian militants from launching rockets into Israel. Almost half of those killed in the raid were civilians, and 18 were 16 years old and younger.
Samah Samir Nassar was shot in the stomach and the left leg as she stood on the street in front of her home. She was taken to a clinic, where she was pronounced dead, medical officials said.
The Israeli army said Palestinian militants in the area fired three anti-tank missiles at soldiers who returned fire, but it was unclear if this exchange was what led to the girl's death.
Later Friday, an Israeli helicopter shot a missile at three militants as they tried to plant an explosive northeast of the Jebaliya refugee camp, a focal point of the offensive, the army said. The army said the missile hit at least two of the militants.
Residents said the missile hit an area where militants and civilians had gathered, killing two people.
One of those killed was Yasser al-Khatib, 18, a militant, hospital sources said. The second person killed was Mohammed Subuh, 17, who was in civilian clothes. Subuh's family said he was not a militant.
Four other Palestinians were wounded, and it was unclear whether they were militants.
Also Friday, a 15-year-old Palestinian boy, Hassan Sharadha, died of injuries sustained when Israeli troops fired a tank shell into Jebaliya last week, hospital officials said.
Meanwhile, in the southern Gaza town of Rafah, the army fired two tank shells, critically wounding a 14-year-old boy, hospital officials said.