Coroner's inquest rules two British men were intentionally shot by Israeli soldiers

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Monday, April 10, 2006 A coroner's inquest hearing ruled on Monday, April 10, that Tom Hurndall, a 22 year old man from north London, England, was intentionally killed by an Israeli on soldier April 22, 2003. Mr. Hurndall died nine months later from the single gunshot wound to the head.

On Thursday April 6, the same court decided that the award-winning cameraman James Miller, 34, was also intentionally shot in the neck by an Israeli sniper three weeks previous to the Hurndall shooting. Both men were shot within a mile of each other near Rafa in the Gaza strip.

The cases were presided over by Dr Andrew Reid, who said he would be writing to the UK Attorney General Lord Goldsmith to see if there was any further legal action which could be taken in relation to the deaths of Tom Hurndall and James Miller.

The five man, five woman jury at Saint Pancras Coroners Court in north London complained of a lack of cooperation by the Israeli authorities in their investigation of both cases. Saying in their verdict of the Hurndall case that "The jury would like to express its dismay with the lack of cooperation from the Israeli authorities", and, in the Miller verdict "It is a fact that from day one the Israeli authorities have not been forthcoming in the investigation into the circumstances surrounding Mr Miller's death.” The Israelis originally put out statements claiming that opposition forces shot both men and that Mr. Hurndall was wearing camouflage gear when he was shot. However images by a South African photographer showed him unconscious and bleeding heavily moments after being shot, he was dressed in casual clothes but wearing bright orange trousers and a vest top.

Mr Hurndall, a Manchester Metropolitan University journalism and photography student, who had entered Gaza from Jordan with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). had described being "shot at, gassed and chased by soldiers" in the war-torn Gaza strip in the days preceding his fatal shooting. The inquest reveled that just before he was killed shots were fired from an IDF watchtower, causing Palestinians children to flee. One child froze and Mr Hurndall went to help but was shot in the head. Sergeant Taysir Hayb was convicted of manslaughter by an Israeli court and jailed for eight years for shooting him.

James Miller was killed on his last day of work on a HBO film titled "Death in Gaza" a documentary about the impact of violence upon children in the conflict zone which has gone on to win three Emmys and a Bafta. He was reportedly filming Palestinian children throwing stones at Israeli tanks in Rafah at the time. The shooting was described as "slow, deliberate, calculated and aimed". He was approaching soldiers from the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) while holding a white flag when he was shot by Lieutenant Hib al Haib of the Bedouin Desert Reconnaissance Unit.

British Legislator, Gerald Kaufman said Tuesday, sanctions must be imposed against Israel if it does not hand over officers and troops suspected of being responsible for the killing of the two British men.

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