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Page last updated at 21:53 GMT, Sunday, 20 July 2008 22:53 UK

Israel probes 'detainee shooting'

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Footage released by an Israeli human rights group

Israel says it has launched an inquiry after an Israeli human rights group released footage that appears to show a soldier shoot a Palestinian detainee.

The video is blurred when the gun fires, but the Palestinian man says a rubber bullet hit his left big toe and he was treated by an army medic.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) called the incident "grave" and in "direct contradiction" of the army's values.

Rights group B'Tselem said the incident occurred on 7 July in the West Bank.

B'Tselem said the video clip showed a soldier firing a rubber-coated steel bullet, from close range, at a handcuffed and blindfolded Palestinian detainee.

It said the shooting took place in the presence of a lieutenant colonel, who was holding the Palestinian man's arm when the shot was fired.

Investigation

A 14-year-old girl reportedly filmed the incident from the window of her home in the town of Nilin, which has been the scene of violent protests against Israel's West Bank barrier.

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I closed my eyes and I don't remember anything. It felt like my leg was gone
Ashraf Abu Rahman
B'Tselem said it received the tape on Sunday and forwarded a copy to the Military Police Investigation Unit, demanding an inquiry.

The Palestinian, Ashraf Abu Rahman, was quoted by local media as saying: "During the demonstration the soldiers caught me, arrested me - and after a few moments I heard shots and felt a fire in my body. I was afraid and didn't know what it was."

"I closed my eyes and I don't remember anything. It felt like my leg was gone," the 27-year-old said.

In a statement quoted by the Jerusalem Post, the IDF said: "Military law forbids inflicting harm on detainees and obligates soldiers to show them respect and ensure their safety."

The IDF said that, in accordance with its policy, the footage had been reviewed by a senior official, and an investigation was under way.

The Israeli government says the West Bank barrier is a security measure to stop suicide bombers, but critics say the structure is a calculated effort to annex occupied land.

Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the 1967 war. It has settled hundreds of thousands of Israelis in the West Bank and keeps a large military presence there.




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