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British cameraman killed in Gaza

James Miller, a British cameraman, was killed in a clash between Israelis and Palestinians.
James Miller, a British cameraman, was killed in a clash between Israelis and Palestinians.

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JERUSALEM (CNN) -- A British cameraman was killed as he covered a clash between Israeli troops and Palestinian gunmen, the Israeli military confirmed Saturday.

James Miller was struck by a bullet, an Israeli military source said, while filming an Israeli anti-arms smuggling operation Friday in Gaza, near the Egyptian-Israeli border.

The Israel Defense Forces said its troops were uncovering a tunnel allegedly used for smuggling weapons when they came under fire by Palestinian gunmen and that Miller was hit in the crossfire.

The Palestinian National Authority issued a statement accusing Israeli forces of targeting Miller deliberately with tank fire.

The IDF said it "absolutely rejects" the accusation that Miller was knowingly targeted, adding that Israeli forces did not use tank fire in the incident.

"This was an operation taking place at night, in which the (Israeli) force was under fire and in which the force returned fire ... with light weapons," said an Israeli military spokesman.

The IDF said an investigation was under way to determine whether Miller died as a result of Israeli or Palestinian fire. An IDF spokesman said it was "very possible" the fatal shot came from Israeli soldiers.

An Israeli army medical helicopter was called in, but the journalist died before the helicopter arrived, the spokesman said.

"The IDF expresses sorrow at the death of the cameraman who entered a combat zone," an IDF spokesman said.

Israeli troops detonated the tunnel Saturday, which they said was an "active" conduit of weapons into Gaza from Egypt, a IDF spokesman said.

Miller's death comes at the end of a week that has seen hopes for peace talks raised but also a suicide bombing that killed three Israelis and an Israeli incursion that killed 13 Palestinians, including a Hamas leader and two children.

Israeli and Palestinian leaders were issued with details of a new peace plan, known as the road map, which lays out a route to an independent Palestinian existing in peace alongside Israel by the end of 2005. (Full story)

Hours after the road map was delivered Wednesday a suicide bomber struck at a Tel Aviv bar killing three people.

A second bomber escaped the scene, police said and the manhunt has led to Britain where on Saturday Scotland Yard said six people had been arrested. (Full story)

The military wing of Hamas, Izzedine al Qassam, and Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a militant offshoot of Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement, claimed responsibility for Wednesday's attack. Both groups are on the U.S. State Department list of terrorist organizations.

Thursday, Israeli troops attacked the home of Yusef Abu Ghin, a Hamas military leader. Palestinian security forces said 13 people including Abu Ghin, two of his brothers, a two-year-old and a 13-year-old died in the shooting. (Full story)

Almost two weeks ago, a Palestinian cameraman was killed covering a clash between Israeli forces and armed Palestinians and stone-throwing youths, in Nablus, on the West Bank. During that clash, witnesses accused an Israeli soldier of targeting the cameraman and shooting at him.

The IDF rejected that charge, saying the cameraman was standing in a place where armed Palestinians were also hiding out.

That cameraman, who normally worked for Palestinian Television, was freelancing for Associated Press Television News the day of the shooting, April 19.

CNN correspondents Kelly Wallace and Jerrold Kessel contributed to this report.


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