Israel suspends soldier who fired at Palestinian teens: report

Newspaper Haaretz said the soldier had been spotted on CNN footage released last week, firing “what appeared to be a rubber bullet” at around the same time the first of the two teenagers was shot.

JERUSALEM // Israel’s army has suspended a non-combat soldier seen firing his weapon during clashes in the West Bank this month in which two Palestinian teenagers were killed, a newspaper reported Thursday.

The report was published in Haaretz amid a military police probe into footage from two CCTV cameras that appeared to show the shooting of the two teenagers was unprovoked, taking place during a lull in the clashes.

The shooting took place during a day of protests on May 15 as Palestinians marked the “Nakba”, or catastrophe, of Israel’s establishment in 1948.

Haaretz said the soldier had been spotted on CNN footage released last week, firing “what appeared to be a rubber bullet” at around the same time the first of the two teenagers was shot.

But it said there was no proof his shot was responsible for killing of Musaab Nuwarah.

“The IDF has found no evidence proving that this soldier’s bullet caused Nuwarah’s death,” it said.

The paper said the suspended soldier was a member of the army’s communications division, a non-combat unit. Such troops, it said, were not permitted to fire unless attacked themselves.

An Israeli army spokesman refused to comment on the report, only saying “the military police investigation is ongoing”.

In the CNN footage, a group of five or six border police officers in dark grey fatigues and helmets with visors can be seen milling around behind a breeze block wall in the town of Beitunia, south-west of Ramallah.

In a 13-second clip focused on them, a soldier in green fatigues is seen kneeling behind the wall, aiming his rifle.

A first shot appears to be fired by a border policeman standing among the group, then 10 seconds later, the kneeling soldier also appears to fire a shot.

Immediately after the second shot, one of the border police is seen taking the weapon from the soldier and the camera quickly pans round to show Palestinians carrying the teenager to an ambulance.

According to the CCTV footage, the two teenagers were shot in the same location but there was an hour and 13 minutes between the two incidents.

Palestinian medics have said both were killed by live bullets, but the Israeli army has denied live fire was used at the scene.

Also on Thursday, Israeli Justice Minister, Tzipi Livni, said that she would not be part of a government that annexes land in Area C of the West Bank.

Ms Livni told Israel Radio that although there are ministers in the current government who prefer a greater Israel over a Jewish and Democratic state of Israel, they represent a minority. “We must continue to strive for peace in the days when it seems that there is no chance to achieve it,” she told the radio station.

* Agence France-Presse and Wam

Published: May 29, 2014 04:00 AM

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