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Israeli forensics team finds dead shepherd killed after picking up stray grenade

Sept. 29, 2008 12:46 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 29, 2008 12:46 P.M.)
Bethlehem - Ma'an - After opening an investigation into the death of 18-year-old Yahya Atta Rayahin Bani Minnah, a Palestinian shepherd who was found dead in the Israeli controlled area near Itamar settlement, Israeli forensics teams have reported his death was caused by the explosion of a 40mm grenade.

Israeli media reported the findings on Monday afternoon, and said the grenade, launched by an M203, must have been on the ground where Yahya was watching his family's sheep. The report said what initially appeared to be at least 20 gunshot wounds were in fact hits from bits of shrapnel from the detonated weapon.

Eyewitnesses had reported seeing a white car of Israeli settlers harassing the young man earlier in the evening, though the corners report makes no mention of cause of death outside the detonation of a grenade that Yahya must have "found."

Given where the boy's body was found, and the reports of settler harassment, cause of death was assumed to be at the hands of increasingly violent Israeli settlers in the area.

Some Israeli politicians have accused "leftists" and other politicians of blaming settlers prematurely and identifying "totally with the enemy's claims."

There has been no indication where the grenade may have come from, and how a shepherd could have come across the un-spent weapon.

The M203 grenade launcher is an American-designed and manufactured weapon, with a range of 150-400 meters.

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