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Last Updated: Friday, 27 June, 2003, 08:44 GMT 09:44 UK
Israel calls Corrie death 'accident'
A memorial was held this week in the Gaza Strip
The Israeli army expressed sorrow for Corrie's death
The Israeli army has closed an investigation into the death of a US peace activist crushed by one of its bulldozers, saying it was an accident and that no action would be taken against the soldiers involved.

Rachel Corrie died in March during a protest against the demolition of a house in the southern Gaza Strip.

She suffered multiple injuries when an Israeli Army bulldozer ran over her and later died in hospital.

Eyewitnesses, including fellow protesters from the International Solidarity Movement for whom Corrie was a volunteer, said that the 23-year-old was clearly visible to the bulldozer operator and was deliberately killed.

However, the army said that military police investigating the incident found that Corrie was killed by earth and building rubble falling on her as she tried to climb on a pile of earth while the bulldozer was operating.

It also said that, while it expressed sorrow for any incident in which innocent people are harmed, it felt that the "illegal and irresponsible" actions of the ISM "contributed to the tragic and distressing results of this incident".

'Full investigation'

The ISM, a pro-Palestinian activist group that uses 'non-violent direct action' to challenge the Israeli activities in Palestine, were protesting against the destruction of a home in the town of Rafah in the Gaza Strip when the incident occurred.

We have received so many negative signals from them, their only concern is to protect their people and not arrive at the truth
ISM spokesman Ghassan Andoni
Her colleagues said that Corrie, wearing an orange fluorescent jacket to identify herself as an activist, was killed after climbing onto a mound of dirt in front of the bulldozer when it refused to stop.

However, the Israeli investigation said in a statement that the army team involved in the incident did not see the activist, because she was standing behind the mound of earth "and it was not possible to see her or to hear her voice".

"It is clear the death of Ms Corrie was not caused as a result of a direct action by the bulldozer or by its running her over," it said.

The army said its investigation had taken into account the interrogation of the soldiers involved, eyewitness statements, the findings of the autopsy and the collection of evidence.


An ISM spokesman said the group was not surprised by the findings.

"We have received so many negative signals from them," Ghassan Andoni told the Associated Press news agency.

"Their only concern is to protect their people and not arrive at the truth."

Shortly after Corrie's death the Israeli army clamped down on the ISM's activities and those of other peace groups.

It ordered all foreigners intending to enter areas under Palestinian control to sign waivers that absolve Israel from responsibility should they be killed or injured in the occupied territories.

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