A medical examination showed on Thursday that metal darts from an Israeli tank shell that explodes in the air caused the death of a Reuters cameraman killed a day earlier in the Gaza Strip, doctors said.
X-rays displayed by physicians who examined the body of Fadel Shana in Gaza's Shifa hospital showed several of the controversial weapons, known as flechettes, embedded in the 23-year-old Palestinian's chest and legs.
Several of the 1 inch-long darts were also found in Shana's flak jacket, emblazoned with a florescent "Press" sign, and in his vehicle, an unarmored sport utility vehicle bearing "TV" and "Press" markings.
"The evidence from the medical examination underlines the importance of a swift, honest and impartial investigation by the Israel Defense Forces and by the government," said David Schlesinger, editor-in-chief of Reuters News.
"The markings on Fadel Shana's vehicle showed clearly and unambiguously that he was a professional journalist doing his duty. We and the military must work together urgently to understand why this tragedy took place and how similar incidents can be avoided in the future," Schlesinger added.
Body wrapped in Palestinian flag
Several hundred people, mainly local journalists, marched in Shana's funeral procession on Thursday. His body was draped in a Palestinian flag and his shattered camera and flak jacket were borne aloft on a separate stretcher.
Shana in action in Gaza (Photo: Reuters)
Dr. Yunes Ramadan Awadallah, one of the physicians who examined Shana's body, said he suffered multiple lacerations from projectiles, some of which appeared to have entered his chest through his neck and shoulder, severing his spinal cord.
Asked about the information that an Israeli flechette shell had killed Shana, an Israeli military spokeswoman said: "The Israel Defense Forces do not, as a rule, comment on the weapons they use. But its weapons are legal under international law.
"Flechettes are legal under international law and a petition filed in the (Israeli) Supreme Court against their use was rejected," she added.