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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 November, 2004, 13:38 GMT
Call to exhume Gaza girl's body
Relatives mourn over body of Iman al-Hams
Investigators have asked for Iman's body to be exhumed
The Israeli military is seeking to exhume the body a 13-year-old Palestinian girl killed by Israeli forces in October.

Iman al-Hams was shot by soldiers after straying into a restricted area near Gaza's border with Egypt.

An Israeli commander is accused of repeatedly firing into her lifeless body despite pleas from his colleagues.

Army lawyers want to examine Iman's body to gather evidence in the case against the officer.

Soldiers from the Givati Brigade fired at Iman as she approached an observation post in the Tel Sultan area of Rafah.

'Verifying the kill'

They believed she was planting a bomb but her family maintained she was on her way to school.

The soldiers said the officer walked up to the girl after she was hit and riddled her body with a burst of automatic fire, in an outlawed practice called "verifying the kill".

They fear the army wants to use the autopsy to clear the officer
Lea Tzemel, lawyer for Iman's family
It is not known whether the girl was already dead when he shot her.

Palestinian hospital officials said the girl was shot at least 15 times, mostly in the upper body.

Prosecutors want to examine the body to determine the range from which the girl was shot and the type of bullets used.

The arrested officer, who has not been named, has maintained his innocence but the Israeli military is expected to press charges against him next week.

Lea Tzemel, a lawyer for the girl's family, said they had so far refused the request. Autopsies are seen by many Muslims as shaming and forbidden.

"Also, the family does not have much faith in the army," said Tzemel.

"They fear the army wants to use the autopsy to clear the officer."

She said the army had agreed to have Palestinian and Arab pathologists present should the examination take place.

Hundreds of Palestinian children have been killed during the intifada, often in clashes between Israeli troops and stone throwers.

The military rarely launches investigations into the incidents.

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Gaza girl death officer cleared
15 Oct 04 |  Middle East

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