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Page last updated at 10:29 GMT, Tuesday, 6 April 2010 11:29 UK

Israeli military criticises troops who killed youths

Photo of X-ray apparently of Osayed Qadus showing a live bullet lodged inside (Source: Btselem)
X-ray apparently of Osayed Qadus's skull showing a bullet lodged inside

The Israeli military has criticised its own soldiers for killing four young Palestinian demonstrators in the West Bank in March.

The Palestinians, one of whom was 15 years old, were shot in the space of 24 hours in two incidents near Nablus.

Israeli Defence Force commander Maj Gen Avi Mizrahi said the incidents were "an unnecessary operational occurrence with dire consequences".

The IDF will now decide whether to take disciplinary action against soldiers.

X-ray

Mohammed Qadus, 15, and Osayed Qadus, 20, were killed during protests on 20 March in which stones were thrown at soldiers near an Israeli settlement.

Palestinian and human rights groups said the young men were killed with live ammunition.

They produced an X-ray image that appeared to show a bullet lodged in the skull of one of the victims.

The IDF initially denied the allegation, saying troops had been given clearance to use rubber coated anti-riot ammunition.

Tuesday's report says the IDF were "unable to verify the autopsy".

Later two men were killed near a military checkpoint.

The IDF investigation said the soldiers opened fire on one man who had attacked them with a broken bottle.

They shot a second man when he raised a sharp object after the first man was shot, the investigation said.

Maj Gen Mizrahi said commanders on the ground should have managed the situation differently and the second man was far away enough for them not to have had to open fire.

Palestinians say the account is false and the men were killed in an unprovoked attack.

The BBC's Tim Franks in Jerusalem says it is unusual for the Israeli army to criticise its soldiers this quickly and this openly.



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