Inquest hears of journalist's 'cold-blooded murder'

By Caroline Gammell, PA

The shooting of a British cameraman by an Israeli soldier in the Gaza Strip was “cold-blooded murder”, a security expert told an inquest today.

James Miller was fatally shot in the neck by an Israeli soldier while making a film about Palestinian children in the Rafah refugee camp in May 2003.

Giving evidence at his inquest at St Pancras Coroner’s Court in London today, former weapons inspector Chris Cobb-Smith said there was no way the soldier had fired by accident.

"This was calculated and cold-blooded murder, without a shadow of a doubt,” he said.

The 10-member inquest jury heard Miller had been wearing a helmet and flak jacket with the letters TV written in bright fluorescent tape as he approached the soldiers at around 11pm on 2 May, 2003. He was holding a torch which shone on a large white flag being held by his interpreter.

A shot was fired, followed by a second and fatal shot 12 or 13 seconds later. Several more shots were fired at seven- to 12-second intervals, hitting the Palestinian house, nicknamed the journalists’ house, from which the TV crew had emerged.

“These shots were not fired by a soldier who was frightened, not fired by a soldier facing incoming fire — these were slow, deliberate, calculated and aimed shots,” Cobb-Smith said.

After the shooting, the guns of the Israeli Defense Force soldiers involved were not seized for 11 weeks, the inquest heard, and even then the soldiers were given two weeks’ notice that their weapons would be confiscated.

The IDF, which did not wish to take part in the inquest, were also accused of bulldozing the site of the shooting three days later and thereby destroying crucial evidence.

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