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Video shows Israeli soldier shooting bound Palestinian at close range

July 20, 2008 7:36 P.M. (Updated: July 20, 2008 7:36 P.M.)
Bethlehem - Ma'an - The Israeli human rights group B'Tselem released on Sunday a video showing an Israeli soldier firing a rubber-coated steel bullet at close range at a bound and blindfolded Palestinian detainee.

The shooting took place in the presence of a lieutenant colonel, who held the prisoner's arm as the shot was fired. B'Tselem claim there has been a cover-up of the incident.

The event took is supposed to have taken place on 7 July, in the West Bank village of Nil'in, which is now famous for its weekly nonviolent demonstrations against Israel's separation wall.

A Palestinian demonstrator, 27-year-old Ashraf Abu Rahma, was detained by soldiers, who handcuffed and blindfolded him for about thirty minutes, during which time, according to Abu-Rahma, they beat him.

Afterwards, a group of soldiers and border police officers led him to an army jeep. The video clip shows a soldier aim his weapon at the demonstrator's legs, from about 1.5 meters away, and fire a rubber coated steel bullet at him. Abu-Rahma said that the bullet hit his left toe, after which he received treatment from an army medic, and was released by the soldiers.

A 14-year-old Palestinian girl from Nil'in filmed the incident from her house in the village, and B'Tselem received it on Sunday morning.

Residents of Ni'lin told B'Tselem that they saw the soldier the following day, still serving in his unit.

B'Tselem immediately forwarded a copy of the film to the Military Police Investigation Unit commander, with the demand that an immediate Military Police investigation be opened and that the Israeli personnel involved be brought to justice.

As a part of a project called "Shooting Back" B'Tselem has distributed about 100 video cameras to Palestinians in order to enable them to document human rights abuses by soldiers and settlers.

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