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Mideast clashes continue

Members of the Djundi family inspect damage after their home in Beit Jalla came under fire
Members of the Djundi family inspect damage after their home in Beit Jalla came under fire  

JERUSALEM -- Clashes are continuing in Gaza and the West Bank despite Israeli and Palestinian leaders receiving a U.S. report blaming both sides for the continuing violence.

The Israeli army says it responded Monday to a mortar attack on the Newe Dekalim settlement in Gaza, using tank fire.

According to Palestine Red Crescent, a 4-month-old baby girl, Iman Hijo, was killed inside her Khan Younis refugee camp house during the shelling. Twenty-five people, including the dead baby's brother and mother, were injured.

No injuries were reported on the Israeli side.

The governor of the West Bank town of Tulkarem, Izzeddin Sharif, told CNN Sunday night that Israeli tanks moved into an area under Palestinian control. However, Israel Defense Forces say they did not enter, but only raided the border outpost area.

CNN's Jerrold Kessel has more on the preliminary Mitchell report (May 6)

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CNN's Jerrold Kessel: Israel enters Palestinian-controlled area

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Mitchell Report denounces Jewish settlement growth

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graphic Recent acts of violence in the Middle East:
 • Bombings
 • Activist deaths

Palestinians said they fired at tanks to stop their advance, and Israeli tanks fired back with machine guns and bullets. Israeli radio reported that a police station was destroyed.

A Palestinian man, Hassan Abu Tammam, 55 died of shrapnel wounds when the ambulance carrying him exploded when hit with fire.

A number of buildings were damaged, including a kindergarten and a technical college. Ten people were injured, including three children and two women.

Earlier Sunday, the Israeli army said its troops opened fire with tanks and guns inside the West Bank town Beit Jala.

According to a spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces, Palestinian gunmen opened fire on Israeli cars driving on a highway that links Jerusalem to Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

The army returned fire toward the gunmen, identified by the IDF as Tanzim militiamen, activists within the Fatah movement of Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat.

An official Palestinian version of the incident was unavailable.

Peres: Report 'fair and balanced'

Earlier Sunday, Israeli Defense Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer said he had given the army approval to make such entry into Palestinian-controlled areas. "In principle, I approved any entry into Zone A if that is necessary to guarantee security," he said.

The army previously had to ask the government for permission to enter Palestinian-controlled areas on a case-by-case basis.

In other incidents reported elsewhere on Sunday, in the Tel Aviv suburb of Petah Tikva, an explosion in a trash container slightly injured an Israeli woman, Reuters reported.

On Friday, a five-man committee led by former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell submitted a draft of their report on the violence, which called on both parties to work to end it.

Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres described the report as "fair and balanced," the Associated Press reported.

However, Cabinet Minister Danny Naveh said the report's call for a halt on construction at Jewish settlements conflicted with peace accords that said the fate of the communities would be worked out in a final agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

Palestinian Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo said the Palestinians "accept the findings ... in as much as they point directly to Israel's continued occupation of Palestinian land."

But the report did not support the Palestinian call for an international force, which Abed Rabbo described as one of several "oversights."

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4:30pm ET, 4/16

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