Middle East

Israel ruled responsible for death of Palestinian girl

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Israel was responsible for the 2007 death of a 10-year-old Palestinian girl, a court in Jerusalem has ruled.

Abir Aramin was shot in the head by a rubber bullet during a clash between border guards and stone-throwing youths in the West Bank town of Anata.

A judge in the civil case brought by her family ruled the killing was "unjustified" and the guards had either been negligent or had disobeyed orders.

The state has been ordered to pay compensation to Abir's family.

Abir was killed shortly after leaving a sweet shop with her sister and two other girls in the West Bank town of Anata, north of Jerusalem, in January 2007.

The family - including her father who is a prominent peace campaigner - had brought the civil case after Israel's high court ruled against a criminal trial, saying Abir might have been hit by a rock thrown by Palestinian protesters.

A group of youths had been involved in a clash with border guards nearby over the building of a section of Israel's controversial West Bank barrier.

But Judge Orit Efal-Gabai dismissed that claim, saying there was "no debate" that Abir had been hit by a rubber bullet and that the shooting "occurred out of negligence, or in violation of the rules of engagement".

"Abir and her friends were walking down a street where there were no rock-throwers, therefore there was no reason to shoot in their direction," Haaretz quoted the judge as saying.

"It is clear that Abir's death, caused by a rubber bullet shot by border guards, was due to negligence by the defendant ."

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