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Rachel Corrie family 'deeply troubled' over Israel ruling

world Updated: Aug 28, 2012 14:38 IST

The mother of US activist Rachel Corrie, who was killed by an Israeli bulldozer in 2003, said the family was "deeply troubled" after a court found the Israeli army was not responsible for her death.

"We are, of course, deeply saddened and deeply troubled by what we heard today from Judge Oded Gershon," Cindy Corrie told reporters shortly after the verdict in which the judge rejected all claims of negligence in her death.

"We believe that Rachel's death could and should have been avoided," said the white-haired mother of three, her voice breaking with emotion.

"We knew from the beginning that a civil suit would be an uphill battle," she said.

Israel, she charged, had "a well-heeled system to protect the military."

Eyewitnesses said the 23-year-old activist was killed by a military bulldozer in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on March 16, 2003.

At the time, she was acting as a human shield with a group of pro-Palestinian activists from the International Solidarity Movement to prevent troops from demolishing a house.

In his verdict, Judge Gershon said he found no case for negligence on the part of the Israeli army, and that the 2003 military police investigation -- which found she had been killed by falling earth as a result of her own irresponsible behaviour -- had been properly conducted.

Corrie's death, he said, was the result of an accident.

"The deceased put herself into a dangerous situation, she stood in front of a giant bulldozer in a place where the operator could not see her. She did not distance herself as a reasonable person would have done," he said.

"Her death is the result an accident she bought upon herself."

The family have vowed to appeal the verdict, their lawyer said.