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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 May, 2003, 13:39 GMT 14:39 UK
Cameraman 'shot in front'
James Miller
James Miller had won numerous awards for his work

A post mortem examination on the body of a British cameraman killed by Israeli soldiers shows that he was shot in the front, the BBC has learned.

The finding appears to contradict Israel's claim that 34-year-old James Miller was hit in the back - suggesting that he was shot by Palestinians.

The Foreign Office, which has seen a videotape of the shooting, is pushing the Israeli authorities for a full military police investigation into Mr Miller's death in view of the "seriousness" of the case.

Foreign office minister Mike O'Brien raised the issue with the Israeli ambassador in London on Thursday.

Mr Miller, an award-winning journalist who has worked for the BBC, was killed on Saturday while making a documentary on house demolitions in Palestinian areas.

White flag

The Israeli army claimed he had been caught in an exchange of fire with Palestinians.

We knew him as a talented and brave journalist
Peter Horrocks
BBC Current Affairs

But witnesses did not recall hearing Palestinian fire and now the post mortem seems to question the Israeli version of events that he was hit from behind, reports BBC correspondent James Rodgers, in Jerusalem.

Another Briton who had been with Mr Miller said they were waving a white flag and moving towards the Israeli vehicle when it opened fire.

At the time the Israeli army expressed "sorrow at a civilian death" but added that a journalist entering a known combat zone "endangers himself".

However, it would not comment on the autopsy results.

'Passionately committed'

Mr Miller was born in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, and had been living in north Devon with his wife Sophie, two-year-old son Alexander and six-month-old daughter Lottie.

Mr Miller's employers, the US channel HBO, led tributes to the talented cameraman.

A statement from Mr Miller's former colleagues at the BBC said they were "deeply saddened" to learn of his death.

He had worked on a number of Correspondent programmes for BBC Two.

Peter Horrocks, head of BBC Current Affairs, said: "We knew him as a talented and brave journalist, passionately committed to exposing abuse of human rights and injustice in the world."

Mr Miller won international acclaim for his documentary work including Beneath the Veil - a film about life under the Taleban.

Dorothy Byrne, Channel 4's acting head of news and current affairs, said he had been a "brave" journalist whose films had made a lasting impact.

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