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Report: Israel suspends soldier after Palestinian teens killed

May 29, 2014 6:28 P.M. (Updated: May 31, 2014 10:29 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Israel's army has suspended a non-combat soldier seen firing his weapon during a Nakba Day protest this month in which two unarmed Palestinian teenagers were killed, a newspaper reported Thursday.

The report was published in Haaretz amid a military police probe into footage from two CCTV cameras that appeared to show the shooting of the two teens was unprovoked, taking place during a lull in the clashes.

The shooting took place during a day of protests on May 15 as Palestinians marked the "Nakba", or catastrophe, in which over 700,000 Palestinians were displaced or forced into exile during the creation of Israel.

Haaretz said the soldier had been spotted on CNN footage released last week, firing "what appeared to be a rubber bullet" at around the same time the first of the two teenagers was shot.

But it said there was no proof his shot was responsible for killing of Musaab Nuwarah.

"The IDF has found no evidence proving that this soldier's bullet caused Nuwarah's death," it said.

The paper said the suspended soldier was a member of the army's communications division, a non-combat unit. Such troops, it said, were not permitted to fire unless attacked themselves.

An Israeli army spokesman refused to comment on the report, only saying "the military police investigation is ongoing".

In the CNN footage, a group of five or six border police officers in dark grey fatigues and helmets with visors can be seen milling around behind a breeze block wall in the town of Beitunia, southwest of Ramallah.

In a 13-second clip focused on them, a soldier in green fatigues is seen kneeling behind the wall, aiming his rifle.

A first shot appears to be fired by a border policeman standing among the group, then 10 seconds later, the kneeling soldier also appears to fire a shot.

Immediately after the second shot, one of the border police is seen taking the weapon from the soldier and the camera quickly pans round to show Palestinians carrying the teenager to an ambulance.

According to the CCTV footage, the two teens were shot in the same location but there was an hour and 13 minutes between the two incidents.

Palestinian medics have said both were killed by live bullets, but the Israeli army has denied live fire was used at the scene.
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