A British peace activist shot in the head while observing the Israeli military in Gaza last April has died in hospital.
22-year-old Tom Hurndall was overcome by pneumonia at the Royal Hospital for Neurodisability, in south-west London, the BBC reported Wednesday.
Hurndall, of north London, had been in a coma since being shot in a Palestinian refugee camp. An Israeli soldier has already been indicted on six charges, including one of "aggravated assault". Hurndall's family now want a murder charge.
Eyewitnesses are said to have seen Hurndall, a former photography student at Manchester Metropolitan University, pulling two Palestinian children to safety in Rafah.
Hurndall was hit while trying to protect women and children, his campaign group, the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) said in April.
The Israeli soldier initially said he had returned fire at a man armed with a pistol - but under interrogation, admitted firing a shot near an unarmed civilian, according to the Israeli army.
Israel first announced an investigation into the shooting in October. When its investigation concludes, a decision will be made over whether to bring any charges.
However, Hurndall's family, from north London, have called for an independent investigation into his shooting, saying any Israeli army investigation will be a "whitewash".
"We're hugely relieved that we've got this far, that the soldier has been charged," Hurndall's sister, Sophie Hurndall, told BBC Radio 4's Today program.
However, she warned, "We've yet to see what his sentence is going to be...The army has been the whole way along with this trying to get itself off the hook, and its soldiers.
"What happens in the occupied territories is covered up at any costs."
However, Sophie Hurndall said, it now appeared to her that the army was cutting its losses and "hanging this soldier out to dry". (Albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )