On the morning of Oct. 5, Iman Hams, a slight girl of 13 wearing a school uniform and toting a backpack crammed with books, wandered past an Israeli military outpost on the Gaza Strip’s southern border with Egypt.
The Israeli captain on duty alerted his troops to reports of a suspicious figure about 100 yards from the outpost. Soldiers fired into the air, according to radio transmissions, military court documents and witnesses.
“It’s a little girl,” a soldier watching from a nearby Israeli observation post cautioned over the military radio. “She’s running defensively eastward. . . . A girl of about 10, she’s behind the embankment, scared to death.”
Four minutes later, Israeli troops opened fire on the girl with machine guns and rifles, the radio transmissions indicated.
The captain walked to the spot where the girl “was lying down” and fired two bullets from his M-16 assault rifle into her head, according to an indictment against the officer. He started to walk away, but pivoted, set his rifle on automatic and emptied his magazine into the girl’s prone body, the indictment alleged.
“This is Commander,” the captain said into the radio when he was finished. “Whoever dares to move in the area, even if it’s a 3-year-old — you have to kill him. Over.”
The girl’s body was peppered with at least 20 bullets, including seven in her head, said Ali Mousa, a physician who is director of the Rafah hospital where her corpse was examined………
…………. When the school called her family to report that she did not show up for classes and that a girl had been shot nearby, Ihab Hams said he raced to the scene to investigate.
“She was going to school like every day, and the soldiers started to shoot,” Hams said he was told by a teacher at the school who witnessed the incident. “She was injured in her leg and became hysterical. She started to run. A teacher tried to stop her, but she didn’t listen because she was so scared.
“Then they shot her,” he said.
When he returned home, his father asked if Iman, one of nine children, was the girl being reported dead on the radio.
” ‘No, she’s okay,’ ” Ihab said his father replied. “I stood at the door and I felt so sad. My father asked me again. Then I told him, ‘Iman has passed away.’ ”
The al-Hams family demanded an investigation into the killing be launched, to determine whether the command to open fire was given illegally, and the High Court acquiesced to the request.
Three judges presided over the hearing: Aharon Barak, Saleem Jubran and Edmond Levi.
The court directed the military police and the chief military prosecutor to investigate whether the command to open fire deviated from the IDF’s official regulations.
The High Court of Justice rejected however a petition that the soldiers involved in the killing be investigated for carrying out illegal orders.
In the verdict, the judges stated that Captain R. was acquitted. Over a year ago the Southern Command military court acquitted Captian R. of all guilt in the girl’s killing, declaring him innocent. In addition, the court ordered the IDF pay the officer NIS 82,000 in compensation for his defense expenses and days in prison.
Captain R was promoted to the rank of major.
and that’s just about it, really.