The New Zealand Herald

Soldiers cheer at shooting

- — Telegraph Group Ltd

Israeli ministers have defended soldiers heard laughing and cheering on a video clip showing an apparently unarmed Palestinia­n man being shot dead on the Gaza border.

The video appears to have been filmed by an Israeli soldier and captures the moment a sniper shoots an unidentifi­ed Palestinia­n near the border fence that separates Israel from Gaza. “Do you have a bullet in the barrel?” asks a voice off-camera in Hebrew. His fellow soldier then cheers after the gunshot rings out, crying: “Wow, what a video. Yes! Son of a whore.”

The Israeli Defence Forces said the video was from December 22, 2017, and not from the recent wave of protests in Gaza, in which Israeli forces have killed 31 Palestinia­ns since the end of March.

A spokesman said the man who was shot was one of the leaders of “a violent riot” on the Gaza border.

The military said the soldier’s decision to film the shooting and the coarse language used in the video “do not suit the degree of restraint expected of IDF soldiers”.

Avigdor Lieberman, the Israeli Defence Minister, said: “The sniper deserves a commendati­on, the photograph­er a court martial. The IDF is the most moral army in the world, but when you face tense situations, sometimes you let out those tensions.”

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