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Last Updated: Friday, 3 October, 2003, 19:23 GMT 20:23 UK
Israeli charged over child deaths

By Orla Guerin
BBC correspondent in Jerusalem

An Israeli army officer has been charged over causing the death of four Palestinians, three of them children.

Young rioter runs past Israeli tank in Jenin this week
Israeli tanks still patrol Jenin today

He is accused of ordering tank units to fire shells and machine guns to enforce a curfew in the West Bank town of Jenin.

It was in June of last year that the killings took place.

Israeli forces in Jenin started shooting and shelling to get civilians off the streets.

According to the indictment against the army officer, a total of 10 tank shells were fired.

Two of the dead were young brothers whose case was highlighted by the BBC.

'Trigger-happy'

We obtained and broadcast amateur video footage of the last moments of their lives.

Ahmad was buried with the chocolate in his hand
Youssef Abu Aziz
father of two of the dead

It shows the brothers, aged six and 13, running for home.

A tank closed in behind fires a shell, even though the boys were clearly visible just a few metres ahead.

Their father told us they thought the curfew had been lifted and had gone out to buy chocolate.

As well as the two brothers, Israeli fire killed a girl of six and a man of 53 in Jenin that day.

Since the beginning of Palestinian uprising three years ago, only nine soldiers have gone on trial for killing Palestinians.

All of those trials are ongoing.

Israeli human rights workers claim that all too often trigger-happy Israeli troops are not held to account for killing or seriously injuring Palestinian civilians.


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