Palestinian Girl Shot Dead at Gaza School

A 10-year-old Palestinian girl was shot and killed Monday by Israeli tank fire at a United Nations school in a southern Gaza Strip refugee camp, Palestinian officials said.

The Israeli army said it did not know of any shootings in the area of the Rafah refugee camp (search) where the girl was killed but said it would investigate in coordination with Palestinian officials.

U.N. officials said Norhan Deeb (search) was hit in the head as she and other pupils lined up in the schoolyard for afternoon assembly. A second girl was wounded in the incident, they said.

Israeli troops and Palestinian gunmen frequently exchange fire in Rafah camp on the Gaza-Egypt border.

Paul McCann, a spokesman for the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (search), which administers the school, could not say definitely who was responsible for shooting.

But a statement by the agency said firing was heard from the Israeli-controlled border zone.

"UNRWA has repeatedly protested the Israeli military's indiscriminate firing into civilian areas in the occupied Palestinian territory," the statement said.

It said the school, 800 yards from the border, has been hit "on numerous occasions" during four years of fighting. "This is the first time the shots have had tragic consequences."

The incident was the second shooting in the area in two days, testing an informal cease-fire between Israel and Palestinian militants. On Sunday, Israeli troops killed a 65-year-old man who entered an unauthorized area near an army post.

The Palestinians deployed thousands of police in Gaza last week in an effort to maintain calm throughout the volatile coastal area. Hundreds of officers took up positions in Rafah last weekend.

McCann said it was not the first time schoolchildren had fallen victim to the conflict.

"This is the fifth occasion in which children in our schools have been hurt," he said. Two girls were killed in separate shootings last fall as they sat inside their classrooms. McCann also said a student has been blinded and another wounded in the violence.

Hundreds of Palestinian children and teens have been killed by army fire in the past four years, often in clashes between stone throwers and Israeli troops. The army rarely investigates the incidents.