- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 21, 2002


JERUSALEM An Israeli human rights group said in a report released yesterday that Israeli soldiers fired indiscriminately and without justification at civilians and paramedics in the Gaza Strip earlier this week, possibly with illegal anti-personnel shells in the incident.

The Israeli fire left three Palestinian civilians dead and five wounded, including three children, ages 4, 11 and 16. One of the dead was a 17-year-old girl.

The Israeli military had no immediate comment on the report by the Betselem group, which sent a field worker to the take statements from survivors.

Betselem said it suspected the army used "flechette" tank shells, which are packed with thousands of darts for greater deadliness.

In the current conditions of Gaza, the use of flechette shells is illegal, Betselem said. A Betselem field worker found a large number of such darts at the scene of the shooting, the report said.

The Israeli army has admitted using flechette shells in the past.

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