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Video: Israeli soldier fires gas canister at rights volunteer

Dec. 2, 2013 5:49 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 4, 2013 9:35 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli human rights group B'Tselem on Monday released video footage of an Israeli soldier deliberately firing tear gas canisters at a Palestinian volunteer in Beit Ummar.

Last Wednesday, B'Tselem volunteer videographer Muhammad Awad was documenting clashes in Beit Ummar between Israeli forces and Palestinians.

The first video Awad shot shows Israeli soldiers standing by a jeep and a stone landing next to them. The soldiers then fire several canisters in the direction of the stone-throwers, in a position behind and to the right of the cameraman.

(Abu Ahmad Awad/B'Tselem)

The second video shows the same Israeli soldier firing tear gas canisters in an arch behind Awad's position, before he is clearly seen pointing the weapon at the B'Tselem volunteer and firing a canister which hits him directly in the chest.

(Abu Ahmad Awad/B'Tselem)

Awad suffered bruising and was taken to the Alia hospital in Hebron for treatment.

B'Tselem created a composite image of video stills showing the canister's trajectory.

"The firing of tear gas canisters directly at individuals is a routine practice by soldiers and border police officers in the West Bank," B'Tselem said.

"It has already claimed the lives of two people and has injured dozens of others in recent years. The military, however, continues to deny such a practice exists and avoids addressing it systematically."

The rights group said it would send the footage to Israel's Military Advocate for Operational Matters to demand that the Israeli soldier involved is held accountable.

Palestinian activist Bassem Abu Rahmeh, 30, was killed in 2009 after being struck in the chest by a tear gas canister fired at close range by an Israeli soldier.

Israel's army closed an investigation into the killing in September this year after the Israeli military's prosecutor general decided that there was a lack of evidence.

Three video segments filmed during the protest show that Abu Rahmah did not act violently and did not endanger the soldiers in any way.

Other soldiers in the same video can be seen firing tear-gas canisters directly at protesters in the presence of senior officers and in complete contravention of the open-fire regulations, B'Tselem said at the time.
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