2 IDF soldiers sentenced to prison, demoted for drive-by shooting of camel

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Two soldiers from an Israeli Defense Force (IDF) elite unit have been sentenced to several months in jail as well as demoted for shooting a camel in the West Bank and filming the attack.

A video of the incident surfaced online earlier sparking outrage on social media.

The footage shows one of the soldiers driving through the desert and shooting a camel, while the other one filmed the incident. As the first soldier pulls the trigger, the other one is heard hysterically laughing as they drive away. The camel later presumably died, according to the Haaretz newspaper.

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The soldier with the gun was sentenced to four months in prison, while the second one was given a two-month jail sentence. Both were demoted in rank to private.

“The sentence reflects the severity with which the IDF sees the offense of cruelty to animals, especially when it involves using a military-issued weapons,” the Israel Defense Forces told AFP in a statement.

The two soldiers were arrested back in December, when the footage first surfaced. Investigation revealed that the two tried to erase the video to no avail, according to Haaretz.

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The shooting itself happened back in November, while the soldiers were on leave. Both had successful careers in the military as part of the elite Duvdevan infantry unit. They were set to start officer training in December. 

Chair of the Israeli animal rights NGO ‘Let the Animals Live,’ Etti Altman, described the shooting as “shameful” and urged for longer prison sentences. “Where did their compassion go, the mercy toward defenseless creatures?” Altman asked.