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DIDGE - The View From Down Under

An Aussie’s ridgy-didge view of world affairs and popular culture.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Israeli Army: Shooting a girl 20 times is ethical

An Israeli Army investigation has concluded a soldier's actions not unethical after he shot a thirteen-year-old girl twenty times on the 5th of October.

Iman al-Hams, a thirteen-year-old Palestinian girl, strayed into a restricted area of the border town of Rafah, and was shot at by Israeli soldiers as they believed the satchel she was carrying contained explosives. It was later revealed that the satchel only contained school textbooks.

The soldiers fired at her and she ran away but fell to the ground after being hit. As Iman lay on the ground, either wounded or dead, the platoon commander advanced towards her and fired two bullets at her head. He returned, putting his gun on automatic and fired the complete magazine into her body. As this happened fellow soldiers pleaded with the commander to stop. An Israeli soldier said, “We couldn’t believe what he had done. Our hearts ached for her. Just a 13-year-old girl. How do you spray a girl from close range? He was hot for a long time to take out terrorists and shot the girl to relieve pressure.”

The practice of shooting bodies from a close range to make sure they are dead is called confirming the kill, and is against Israeli military regulations.

Palestinian doctors said 20 bullets had hit her body, including five shots to her head. Her brother, Ehab, said her body was “peppered with bullets, in the head, chest, legs.”

The soldier who shot Iman defended his actions by saying he fired into the ground near the girl after he came under fire. However, this explanation is rather peculiar, because if you were coming under fire wouldn’t you shoot in the direction that it was coming from and not at the ground? Regardless of the bizarre explanation the Israeli Army accepted his response and concluded that he had not acted unethically and that the incident should not be cause for his removal from his position. However, the soldier will be suspended from his position, but because of his poor leadership skills.

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