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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 February, 2004, 22:08 GMT
Israel soldier charged over death
Tom Hurndall
Mr Hurndall's family have called for a murder charge
An Israeli soldier has been charged with manslaughter over the death of a UK activist who was shot last year.

Student Tom Hurndall was hit in the head last April while observing Israeli troops in Rafah refugee camp.

He suffered severe brain damage, never regained consciousness and died last month in a London hospital, aged 22.

Mr Hurndall was a member of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), which campaigns against the Israeli occupation of Palestinian areas.

His family has waged a high-profile campaign to bring those responsible for his death to justice.

'Charges upgraded'

Late last year, an Israeli soldier - who has not been identified - was indicted on six charges relating to the shooting, including one of aggravated assault.

The Associated Press news agency quotes the Israeli military as saying that because Mr Hurndall has died, the charges have been upgraded to manslaughter.

Mr Hurndall's family, from Tufnell Park, north London, have called for a murder charge to be brought.

"We believe the soldier fully intended to shoot Tom in order to kill him," his mother Jocelyn was quoted as saying by the UK Press Association.

They said they were not surprised by the manslaughter charge, but they were "horrified" that they would not now see the military report into their son's death.

The family also wants to see an investigation into the root cause of the shooting, as they believe that soldiers in Gaza may be given express orders to shoot unarmed civilians.

Witnesses said Mr Hurndall, who was photographing the work of the ISM in Rafah, was trying to help children out of the path of an Israeli tank when he was shot.

Israeli officials have denounced ISM members as agitators who are putting their lives at risk in a war situation.

They suspect members of the group of having contact with Palestinian militants.

The ISM denies this, saying it only uses peaceful means to support "Palestinians living under occupation".

"The Israeli Defence Force continues to make these allegations against ISM because they do not want international observers on the ground, witnessing their gross human rights violations against the Palestinian people," said an ISM spokesman in London.

'Tom would stick up for anyone'
14 Jan 04  |  London

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