Soldiers Suspected of Shooting Camel to Remain in Custody, Court Says

The two members of an elite undercover unit allegedly killed the animal and uploaded a video of the incident to the Internet.

Reuters

The remand of two soldiers being held in connection with the shooting death of a camel last month was extended Sunday by the Jaffa Military Court.

The two are members of the Duvdevan elite undercover unit, a fact that could not be published until now. The court is maintaining a gag order on publication of their names. They are suspected of animal abuse, illegal use of a weapon, destroying evidence and obstructing justice.

Video of soldiers charged with shooting a camel

The Military Police are about to finish their investigation of the two, who apparently tried to erase a video one of them took of the shooting from their cell phones after uploading it to the Internet. This is the primary reason the military prosecution asked to extend the remand of both of them, although only one is suspected of the actual shooting. Text messages between the two included one saying, “This s**t is for life. We’ve tripped ourselves up.”

During the hearing the military prosecutor said that both soldiers are dangerous and must be kept detained. Court president Lt. Col. Ronen Shor accepted the argument and ordered both held until 2 P.M. today.

The two were supposed to start an officers’ course last week after a lengthy service in Duvdevan. The attorneys representing the gunman said last week that at issue was “a limited incident that does not reflect on his character.” They said their client was an outstanding soldier who hoped to return to his unit. The attorney for the other soldier said that her client “is not connected to the violation and the investigative material shows that.”

The two soldiers are also suspected of having set up a private shooting gallery for themselves, using bottles of water on two occasions. One of them is also suspected of having removed weapons from his unit’s bunker.

The IDF Spokesman described it as “a serious incident that is not in keeping with what is expected of IDF soldiers.”

Soldiers have been jailed for abusing animals in the past. In 2012, a soldier was convicted of animal abuse after pouring boiling water on a stray cat. He was sentence to 30 days’ imprisonment and a five-month suspended sentence; he was also fined and demoted in rank.