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BBC NEWS | Middle East | Gaza girl killed in border clash

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Gaza girl killed in border clash: "A 17-year-old Palestinian girl has been killed in Gaza by Israeli fire.

After initial denials, Israeli army officials said the girl was killed by Israeli troops during a clash with Palestinian militants on Thursday.

Reports say that two others were injured in the exchange in central Gaza near the Israeli border.

The Gaza-Israel border has been quiet, except for sporadic violence, since Israel launched a devastating three-week campaign in Gaza in late December.

Six months after the offensive, Gaza remains under blockade, a state of affairs Israel says will continue while its soldier Gilad Shalit remains in Hamas captivity.

Reports named the 17-year-old girl as Hyam Ayash, a resident of the Deir al-Balah refugee camp.

West Bank violence

Separately in the West Bank, a Palestinian woman carrying a toy gun was shot and wounded by Israel soldiers as she approached a checkpoint, the Israeli military says.

Reports suggest the woman was 18 years old.

Also in the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority has stepped up arrests against people suspected of Hamas membership.

A Hamas member of the Palestinian parliament said that the number of Hamas detainees had almost doubled from 460 to 890.

Reports say that members of the rival Fatah faction have also been arrested in the Gaza Strip.

BBC Jerusalem correspondent Paul Wood says none of this bodes well for the Egyptian brokered effort to get Hamas and Fatah into a unity government."

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