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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 November 2005, 18:56 GMT
Gaza girl death officer acquitted
Relatives mourn over body of Iman al-Hams
Doctors said Iman al-Hams was riddled with about 20 bullets
An Israeli army captain accused of firing bullets into the body of a 13-year-old Palestinian girl in Gaza in October 2004 has been acquitted.

Iman al-Hams was shot close to an Israeli watchtower in the southern Gaza town of Rafah when soldiers suspected her of planting a bomb.

The soldier admitted firing two shots from close range to "verify the kill", but denied shooting several more times.

An investigation was launched when his soldiers complained about his actions.

The officer, known as Captain R, was then charged with illegally using his weapon, obstruction of justice, conduct unbecoming and improper use of authority.

'Delighted'

Captain R's lawyers, Yoav Meni and Elad Eisenberg, said the practice of "verifying the kill" was often employed by the IDF to eliminate immediate threats.

Acquitted Israeli officer speaks to media
Captain R, still unnamed, spoke to media after the trial

They also found contradictions in the testimony given by prosecution witnesses during the military trial.

Givati Brigade infantrymen admitted to the court that they had lied to the investigation in order to oust the officer from the company.

Captain R told reporters that he was delighted with the verdict.

"There was only one accurate version from the start and that was my own, and I'm glad that is what the court found," he said.

The Palestinian Authority condemned the verdict.

No explosives or weapon were found on Iman's body, but the Israeli military claimed that she might also have been attempting to draw Israeli soldiers to her in order to allow Palestinian snipers to shoot at the soldiers.


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