Gunfire Wounds Israeli Girl, 9, Playing in Yard in West Bank

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Correction Appended

JERUSALEM -- A 9-year-old girl was shot in the chest Saturday night while playing outside her home in a West Bank settlement, in what the Israeli authorities suspect was an attack by a Palestinian who had broken into the settlement from one of the surrounding villages. The girl was in stable condition at a Jerusalem hospital, officials said.

Libby Weiss, a spokeswoman for the Israel Defense Forces, said the shooting in Psagot, near the Palestinian city of Ramallah, was "being investigated as a possible terrorist attack."

Israeli news Web sites reported that a hole had been found in the fence surrounding Psagot, a community of 2,000 residents known for its winery, and that the girl had told a medic that she saw the assailant enter her yard.

Several right-wing Israeli politicians who oppose the establishment of a Palestinian state seized on the shooting to call for a halt in the Washington-brokered peace negotiations.

"We've returned to a situation in which talks with the Palestinians equal murderous terrorist attacks," Uri Ariel, Israel's housing minister, said in a statement. "This situation cannot be allowed to continue."

The shooting came two weeks after the killings of two Israeli soldiers in the West Bank: one was lured there while off duty by a Palestinian co-worker at a restaurant outside Tel Aviv; the other was shot by a sniper while guarding the Jewish settlement in Hebron, where thousands of Jews were making a pilgrimage.

The recent episodes are part of an uptick in violence against Israelis reported since the beginning of the new peace talks. Israel's General Security Services, known as the Shin Bet, counted 91 attacks in September in the West Bank and Jerusalem, compared with 51 in August.

Israeli forces have killed several Palestinians in overnight raids in the Jenin and Qalandiya refugee camps in the West Bank in recent weeks, heightening tensions around the nascent talks.

After Saturday's shooting, soldiers conducted a house-to-house search to determine whether the assailant was still in the neighborhood. By midnight, a motorcyclist had reported being shot at on a road outside Psagot, though he was not injured, according to local news Web sites, and the police said there had also been stone-throwing incidents.

The Jerusalem Post reported that the spokesman for Psagot, David Tziel, said the girl had told rescue personnel that she saw a man enter her yard, climb onto her balcony and shoot her.

Correction: October 6, 2013, Sunday

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: An earlier version of this article referred incorrectly to Psagot, a West Bank settlement where a 9-year-old girl was shot. It is southeast of the Palestinian city of Ramallah, not north of the city.

world

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.


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