Israeli commander sacked for shooting at arrested Palestinian

July 29th, 2008 - 7:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Tel Aviv, July 29 (DPA) The Israeli Defence Force (IDF) Tuesday suspended the commanding officer of the soldier who was captured on film shooting a blindfolded, handcuffed Palestinian protester in the foot with a rubber-coated metal bullet earlier this month. An IDF spokesman said its Northern Command Chief, Major General Gadi Eisenkot, had ordered the officer to take a 10-day leave of absence after a hearing Tuesday and pending further investigation.

Eisenkot described the incident as “severe” and said it amounted to a “moral failure” on the part of the commander, the spokesman said.

Israel’s military advocate general opened an investigation after an Israeli human rights group released a video July 20 taken by a 14-year-old resident of the village of Nil’in in northwestern Jerusalem where the incident took place July 7.

The soldier was arrested a day after the video of the incident in which the Palestinian was lightly wounded. He was released after 24 hours in custody and questioning.

The incident caused shock and outrage both in Israel and in the Palestinian areas.

The soldier told investigators he had shot at the protester because he believed he had heard his commander give him the order to shoot. The commander however, said the soldier had acted independently.

Both were subjected to polygraph tests, which showed the soldier’s version of events to be reliable, Israeli media reported.

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