PARIS, France – A French judge has ordered a television network to release unedited footage of the shooting death of a 12-year-old Palestinian boy in the Gaza Strip for renewed investigations into the contentious incident, judicial officials said Friday.
The order came after the Israeli army said this week it had asked broadcaster France-2 to turn over raw video of the Sept. 30, 2000, incident. Palestinians blamed Israeli troops for the death, and the incident has become a symbol to Palestinians of excessive Israeli force.
The Israeli army initially said the gunfire "apparently" came from Israeli positions. But a military investigation subsequently determined he could have been hit by Palestinian bullets in an exchange of fire.
A French appeals court launched new hearings Wednesday in a legal dispute between France-2 and a media observer who accused the network of staging the event.
The court ordered France-2 to turn over original footage of the incident to be aired in the courtroom, judicial officials said Friday. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
The court is to view the video Nov. 14, the officials said. No decision is expected in the appeal before February.
The disturbing images of Mohammed al-Dura's death were shown around the world. They showed the terrified boy and his father cowering in front of a wall amid a furious exchange of fire between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants in Gaza.
The report shows the father gesturing frantically to try to stop the shooting — then cuts to a shot of the motionless boy slumped in his father's lap. The report said the gunfire had come from nearby Israeli positions, though the circumstances remain in dispute.
Philippe Karsenty, a self-described media watchdog, accused France-2 and its Israel correspondent, Charles Enderlin, of staging the shooting. Enderlin and the TV network filed a libel suit against Karsenty, and a Paris judge ruled in their favor last year.
Karsenty appealed, and the Paris appeals court took up the case this week.
France-2 and Karsenty could not immediately be reached for comment about the court order.