Israel has been forced to respond to a growing media scandal after an Israeli sniper posted a picture appearing to show the back of a Palestinian child’s head locked in his gun sights.
Mor Ostrovski, a 20-year-oldIsraeli soldier in the army’s sniper unit, posted the controversial image on his personal Instagram feed over the weekend.
The picture went viral after the pro-Palestinian Electronic Intifada website, run by journalist Ali Abunimah, first uncovered it on Friday.
Israel’s Ynet newspaper quoted the IDF Spokesman as saying: “This is a severe incident which doesn’t accord with the IDF’s spirit and values. The issue was brought to the attention of the soldier’s commanding officers, will be examined and properly handled.”
Ostrovski’s Instagram feed shows a number of images of him with weapons, including a close-up of a bullet being loaded into a sniper rifle chamber.
Israel’s use of social media has become well-documented since last November’s Operation Pillar of Cloud assault on the Gaza Strip.
The country’s military took to Twitter to announce a full-scale military operation following the surprise assassination of Hamas chief Ahmed al-Jabari, in what some commentators have called “the world’s first social media declaration of war.”
IDF Spokesperson and al-Qassam Brigades Twitter accounts also exchanged harsh words throughout the operation, which killed 158 Palestinians including 102 civilians, according to Palestinian Centre for Human Rights figures.