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Israel Launches Probe into Death of Palestinian Girl - 2004-10-11

Israeli military prosecutors have opened an investigation into the shooting death of a 13-year-old Palestinian girl.

An Israeli army spokesman Monday said an army officer may have used excessive force when he killed Iman al-Hams in the southern Gaza refugee town of Rafah.

At the time, soldiers fired at the girl because they suspected she was carrying explosives.

In an interview broadcast Sunday, however, unidentified Israeli soldiers said the unit commander went up to the girl, who had already been shot, and repeatedly fired his automatic weapon at close range to ensure she was dead.

The director of the hospital in Rafah, Dr. Ali Musa, said the child was hit with at least 15 bullets, most in the upper body.