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Last Updated: Friday, 19 November, 2004, 18:05 GMT
Israel probes body abuse claims
Israeli soldiers in Rafah
The incidents allegedly took place in Gaza and the West Bank
The commander of the Israeli army has ordered an investigation into claims his troops abused Palestinian corpses.

Moshe Yaalon said he intended "to reach the truth" following the allegations published in the mass-selling Israeli Yediot Ahronot newspaper.

One soldier reportedly told how the head of a suicide bomber was positioned on a concrete barrier with a cigarette in its mouth, and then photographed.

Such acts were forbidden in an army valuing human rights, Gen Yaalon said.

"I ordered the military police to open an investigation and I intend to shed full light on this matter," he told military radio.

"It is inconceivable that such things should happen in the ranks of Israel's army," he added.

'Really excited'

But he denied that the incidents detailed in the newspaper were widespread within the military.

The newspaper detailed soldiers' accounts of several incidents involving the desecration of Palestinians bodies and then taking photos as war mementos.

One soldier, identified as 'Y', spoke of the incident of the suicide bomber's corpse photographed with a cigarette in its mouth in the West Bank two years ago.

"Everyone was really excited," he said.

"I tried to tell them, 'Are you crazy? You are disgusting'. They didn't understand what I was talking about."

The Associated Press quoted a rabbi, identified as Rabbi Stav, saying that the desecration of any dead body was not allowed under Jewish law, as man is created in the image of God.

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