Israeli solider jailed for killing British activist

Thu, Aug 11, 2005, 01:00

A former Israeli sergeant was sentenced by a military tribunal to eight years in jail today for killing a British activist in Gaza in 2003.

Taysir Hayb was convicted in June of manslaughter for the 2003 shooting of Tom Hurndall (22), an activist with the pro-Palestinian International Solidarity Movement.

He was shot as he helped Palestinian children avoid gunfire in the Rafah in occupied Gaza and died in London in January 2004 after lying in a coma for nine months.

Hayb, who had initially said he shot only at Palestinian gunmen, later told investigators he had shot at Hurndall but intended only to scare him, not kill him.

Judges determined that Hayb was a crack marksman with a telescopic rifle sight and a clear line of fire toward Hurndall, who was wearing a bright orange jacket donned to distinguish himself from combatants.

He was sentenced to 11-and-a-half years, but judges said he would only have to serve eight years. He had faced a maximum 27-year term.

Anthony Hurndall, the victim's father, had called the manslaughter verdict "limited justice". British police have opened a separate investigation into the shooting.