Autopsy Confirms: Shot by Israelis
Updated Friday May 09 2003
Autopsy of British cameraman shows he was killed by IDF fire
By Haaretz Service and Agencies Thursday 8 May 2003
British journalist James Miller, who was shot dead last week in the Gaza Strip town of Rafah, was hit by IDF fire, not by Palestinian fire, according to an autopsy carried out at by the Forensic Institute, Israel Radio reported Thursday.
A pathologist sent from Britain by Miller's family participated in the autopsy, the radio said. The dissection showed that the cameraman was shot from the front, and not from behind, as the IDF claimed. He was wearing a helmet and a flack jacket, but was hit in the neck.
Courtesy alla at togethernet
Dead Cameraman Carried White Flag
By Justin Huggler – The Independent 4 May 2003
Israeli soldiers who killed a British television cameraman, James Miller, in southern Gaza could have been in no doubt about his identity as a journalist, according to witnesses. They said yesterday that he was shot at close range while in a group carrying a large white flag and shouting repeatedly that they were journalists.
Mr Miller, who lived in Devon with his wife and son, was working with the producer Saira Shah, with whom he made two acclaimed documentaries about Afghanistan. They were working on a film about the lives of Palestinian children in Rafah. His death comes just three days after two Britons carried out a suicide bombing that killed three people in Tel Aviv.
The cameraman was killed in the area where the streets of Rafah run close to the Egyptian border. The houses are riddled with bullet-holes, and the area is overlooked by Israeli army watchtowers. Local Palestinians keep to the back alleys, saying that if you can be seen from a watchtower you can be shot.
Abd al-Rahman Abdullah, a Palestinian translator working with the journalists, gave a detailed account yesterday of the shooting. The details were confirmed in a separate interview with Tamer Zeyara, a Palestinian cameraman for the Associated Press news agency who also witnessed the killing.
Mr Miller was the third foreigner to be killed or seriously injured by Israeli soldiers in Rafah in the past two months. Rachel Corrie, an American peace activist, was crushed to death by an Israeli army bulldozer in March. Tom Hurndall, a British peace activist, is in a coma after being shot in the head by an Israeli sniper while trying to rescue Palestinian children from Israeli fire.
Mr Miller and the other members of the crew, Ms Shah and assistant producer Daniel Edge, were in a house filming Israeli soldiers preparing to demolish another house nearby. The army regularly demolishes houses in the area, claiming that they are used by Palestinian militants.
Mr Abdullah told how the group of journalists debated whether it was safe to leave the house. Eventually he, Mr Miller and Ms Shah decided to walk straight towards two Israeli armoured personnel carriers parked outside, making their identity as journalists clear, rather than risk being mistaken for militants by trying to take a back route.
All three were wearing helmets and bullet-proof vests. Mr Abdullah persuaded Mr Miller to swap his helmet, which was unmarked, for one with "TV" clearly marked in yellow fluorescent tape. Ms Shah's vest had the same markings.
In addition, Mr Abdullah carried a large white flag that the group borrowed from the Palestinian owner of the house, and the camerman held up a torch and shone it at the flag. As they walked towards the soldiers, the three continually shouted that they were foreign journalists in both English and Arabic. The soldiers had shouted insults in Arabic at the inhabitants of the house earlier, and clearly understood the language.
When they got about 10 yards from the house, Mr Abdullah said, a soldier began firing at them from the APCs. Both Mr Abdullah and Mr Zeyara denied claims by the Israeli army that the soldiers were coming under fire from Palestinian militants and that Mr Miller was "caught in the crossfire".
Mr Abdullah and Ms Shah both dived for cover. "After the second or third shot, James was hit," said Mr Abdullah.
The translator managed to get back to the house, where he called a relative to get an ambulance. But it failed to appear, and the relative told him the Israelis were not letting it through. "I ran towards the APCs then. I could not help myself. I was screaming for help," he said.
An Israeli officer opened the hatch of one APC and told the journalists to bring Mr Miller over. The cameraman lay on the ground untended for 25 minutes between being shot and being taken to hospital. It is not clear if the delay contributed to his death.
The killing comes after the Israeli army issued an order to soldiers to crack down on foreign peace activists. Mr Zeyara said he saw foreign activists being shot at by Israeli soldiers in the area earlier on Friday evening.
Last updated 09/03/2005