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Last Updated: Monday, 10 April 2006, 16:52 GMT 17:52 UK
'Unlawful killing' of Gaza Briton
Tom Hurndall
Tom Hurndall died nine months after falling into a coma
A Briton shot dead by an Israeli soldier in Gaza was "intentionally killed", an inquest has ruled.

Tom Hurndall, 22, from Tufnell Park, north London, was shot in April 2003 as he moved children away from the Israeli army in the Palestinian town of Rafah.

A soldier has already been jailed for his manslaughter, but Mr Hurndall's family believe blame goes higher up.

The coroner is to write to the Attorney General about the case and the death of James Miller, shot three weeks later.

Tom Hurndall, a journalism and photography student at Manchester Metropolitan University, was with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) acting as a human shield when he was shot.

He died from his injuries nine months later.

'Lack of cooperation'

A five man, five woman jury at St Pancras Coroners Court in London ruled that he had been unlawfully killed.

The jury said: "He was shot intentionally with the intention of killing him.

"The jury would like to express its dismay with the lack of cooperation from the Israeli authorities."

His family now say they want the British Government to carry out its own investigation of five officers named during the inquest.

Coroner Dr Andrew Reid said he will write to the Attorney General to see if there is any further legal action which could be taken relating to Mr Hurndall's death and that of 34-year-old James Miller.

Jocelyn and Anthony Hurndall arrive at the inquest on Monday
British citizens in Israel are not safe
Anthony Hurndall

Mr Miller was killed by a member of the Israeli Defence Force just a mile away in Rafah three weeks after Mr Hurndall was shot.

An inquest held into his death last week, also presided over by Dr Reid, decided Mr Miller had been murdered.

Speaking after Monday's verdict, Anthony Hurndall, Tom's father, said: "It's now down to the British Government to take action.

"There have been five officers of the Israeli army named in the proceedings today and they should be investigated by the government here.

"British citizens in Israel are not safe, nor are the local civilians safe.

"So, both as a matter to protect British citizens but also as a matter of the Geneva Conventions Act, the British government is obliged to pursue those who commit any war crime and illegal killing is a war crime under the Geneva Conventions Act."

Make no mistake about it, the Israeli Defence Force have today been found culpable by this jury of murder
Michael Mansfield QC

He said that he would consider bringing a private prosecution against the individuals he believes killed his son.

Asked what he thought of ex-soldier Taysir Hayb, who is serving eight years in jail for his son's manslaughter, Mr Hurndall said: "He would say he's been scapegoated.

"He was simply doing what he had been told."

Michael Mansfield QC, who represented the Hurndall family, said he was delighted with the verdict.

"This has been a long and harrowing struggle for them [the Hurndalls] in their search for the truth. Today is a vindication of that struggle," he said.

"Make no mistake about it, the Israeli Defence Force have today been found culpable by this jury of murder."

He said he wanted the British Government to bring about the extradition of senior commanding officers, so they can be held accountable in British courts.

Earlier Jocelyn Hurndall, Tom's mother, told the jury she received an e-mail from Tom hours before his death, saying he wondered what it would be like to be shot and said he was eager to "make a difference".


SEE ALSO:
Gunned down 'protecting others'
27 Jun 05 |  Middle East
'Tom would stick up for anyone'
14 Jan 04 |  London


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