An Israel Defense Forces soldier has been arrested for allegedly shooting a camel in the Dead Sea area and another is being held for videoing the incident and posting it on the internet.
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The military prosecution asked the Jaffa Military Court on Wednesday to extend the shooter’s remand until Sunday. The photographer is being held until today. A gag order prevents publication of the soldiers’ names and unit.
The two, both combat soldiers in an elite unit who were due to begin an officer’s course this week, drove past the camel while on leave two weeks ago. One of them complained that the camel was “in his way” and shot it. The sound of their laughter as they drove off can be heard on the video.
A dead camel was found in the area later that day.
A Military Police investigation revealed that the photographer had attempted to erase the video from his cell phone. Text messages between the two included one saying, “This s**t is for life. We’ve tripped ourselves up.”
A defense objection to the extension of the photographer’s remand of the photographer was countered by the prosecutor, who argued that his continued detention was justified by his attempt to obstruct the investigation.
“The soldier is not connected to the violation and the investigative material shows that,” the military defender of one of the suspects told the court. “We are certain that the picture will be clearer to enforcement officials in the next few days and the soldier will be cleared of any suspicions, be freed from detention and continue his successful service.”
Military defense attorneys described the other soldier as “a combat soldier in an elite unit who has taken part in dozens of operations connected to state security and was involved, with his friend, in a limited incident that does not reflect on his character. We are saddened that the military prosecution decided to extend his detention for the investigation.
“This was an unfortunate incident, that has already extracted a price with the arrest of our client and his being prevented from starting his officers’ course this week. The defense will do all it can to allow our client, an outstanding soldier, to put this unfortunate incident behind him as quickly as possible so that he can return to contribute with his army service, without a criminal record that will interfere with his future in the army and in civilian life.”
The IDF Spokesman described the incident 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.