Rachel Corrie
Rachel Corrie Photo by Archive
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The Israel Defense Forces soldier who drove the bulldozer involved in the death of an American activist  in the Gaza Strip testified publicly on Thursday for the first time since the incident seven years ago.

The soldier has not been charged or tried over 23-year-old Rachel Corrie's death and his identity has not been disclosed. He delivered his testimony behind a wood-and-plastic partition, his voice coming into the hall over a microphone.

Corrie was struck and killed in 2003 by a bulldozer as she and other activists tried to stop Israel razing homes in Rafah by using their bodies as human shields.

The driver has said he did not see her, and the IDF has ruled her death an accident - a version her parents reject.

The trial over her death reopened last March. The Corries, unwittingly drawn into Mideast affairs by their daughter's death, are seeking a symbolic $1 in damages plus trial costs and travel expenses for themselves and witnesses, which they have estimated at $100,000.

In the damages suit filed by the Corrie family it is stated that no thorough and objective investigation was held into the death, which the family maintains occurred either because of intent or the bulldozer driver's negligence. The plaintiffs also maintain that the recording documenting the incident was deleted.

Corrie was an activist with the International Solidarity Movement, which often sends foreign activists into volatile hot spots to assist Palestinians.One other International Solidarity Movement activist has died from Israeli fire, and at least two others have been seriously wounded.

The Corries unsuccessfully tried to sue Caterpillar Inc., the U.S. company that manufactured the bulldozer.