A peace activist shot by an Israeli soldier as he escorted some children across a road in Gaza, was flown back to Britain yesterday. Tom Hurndall, 22, is in a coma, suffering from sever brain damage from doctors say he is unlikely to recover. He was wearing a fluorescent orange vest when he was shot. Witnesses say that there had been no exchange of fire between the Israeli army and Palestinian gunmen that day. The photo-journalism student was flown back to Heathrow with his parents. He is now in the intensive care unit of the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead, north London. The family are conducting an inquiry into the incident as fears mount that a campaign has been initiated against peace activists in Israel. One other campaigner was killed recently and several have been badly injured. Speaking at the hospital, Anthony and Jocelyn Hurndall, of Tufnell Park, North London, described the "shock and exhaustion" they had suffered since the shooting. "We've been physically exhausted from emotion and tremendous sadness. We are tremendously relieved to have him home. It's been a very cruel six and a half weeks," said Mrs Hurndall. "I did what I could before Tom went to keep his eyes open to the dangers. But I'm enormously proud that he had this very strong desire to seek out injustice." "We have his journals and thank heavens for that. It's given us an insight into his last week before he was shot. We're not hopeful about him ever coming out of the coma - we've had that explained to us." Tom Hurndall, a Manchester Metropolitan University student is a member of the International Solidarity Movement. The ISM has activists operating all over the West Bank and Gaza who come to the region from around the world to try to act as a buffer between the Israeli army and settlers and Palestinians. Their activities range from protecting the olive harvest to escorting children to school. They often work with Israeli human rights groups.
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