Page last updated at 14:10 GMT, Monday, 21 July 2008 15:10 UK

Barak condemns detainee shooting


Footage released by an Israeli human rights group

Israel's defence minister has condemned an incident caught on film in which a soldier seems to shoot a rubber bullet at a bound and blindfolded Palestinian.

Ehud Barak said the case was "grave and wrong" and that the military would exact the full extent of the law.

Footage released by human rights group B'Tselem on Sunday shows the detainee being held by one soldier as another fires at his legs at close range.

The Palestinian man has said the rubber bullet hit his left big toe.

A 14-year-old girl reportedly filmed the incident on 7 July from the window of her home in the town of Nilin, which has been the scene of violent protests against the West Bank barrier.

Immediately afterwards, an inquiry was conducted by the brigade commander responsible, but no action was taken, reports say.

'Edited parts'

However, after examining the footage on Sunday, the Israeli military advocate general ordered military police to open an investigation.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) also issued a statement calling the incident "grave" and in "direct contradiction" of its values.

Warriors do not behave like this
Ehud Barak
Israeli Defence Minister

In televised remarks to Labour Party MPs on Monday, Mr Barak promised that those involved would be held to account.

"[The] incident was a grave and wrong one and is not indicative of the IDF's norms. The military will exact the full extent of the law in this case," he said.

"Warriors do not behave like this."

Earlier, military spokeswoman Maj Avital Leibovitz said questions remained "about the edited parts" of the video, referring to a moment shortly after the weapon is fired, when the camera moves away briefly before showing the Palestinian detainee lying on the ground.

A spokeswoman for rights group B'Tselem, Sarit Michaeli, said the girl had accidentally stopped filming when she was startled by the gunshot and continued as soon as she became aware she had pressed the stop button.

The group also said the footage appeared to contradict a statement by the soldier's commander, who was present at the scene.

The Israeli military originally said that the lieutenant colonel had been unaware of the incident and that the door of his patrol vehicle had blocked his line of sight.

However, the footage appears to show him holding the Palestinian detainee's arm when the shot is fired. The Jerusalem Post also reports that the commander told the soldier: "Shoot him, shoot him."

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