Israel probes Instagram picture of child in crosshairs

JERUSALEM (AFP) - The Israeli army said on Tuesday it has launched an investigation after a soldier allegedly posted a picture on Instagram of a Palestinian child's head in the crosshairs of his sniper rifle.

The picture, which went viral on the Facebook-owned picture-sharing website before it was removed, shows a child sitting with his back to the sniper's telescope, with its crosshairs on the left side of his head.

The gun is pointing out of a window in the direction of what appears to be a Palestinian neighbourhood or village.

Israeli media said the image was uploaded by 20-year-old sniper Mor Ostrovski to Instagram last week, and it caused an uproar after it spread throughout social media networks.

"The picture in question does not coincide with IDF's (Israel Defence Forces) values or code of ethics," a statement from the military read.

"The soldier's commanders have been notified. The issue will be investigated and dealt with accordingly." The soldier denies that the picture was taken by him, according to security sources.

It is not the first case of Israeli soldiers publishing controversial images.

Breaking the Silence, a group that documents Israeli army abuse against Palestinians, published the latest image on its Facebook page alongside a similar picture from 2003.

"Ten years have passed. The equipment and applications have changed," it wrote on the website, but "the sensation of exaggerated power and callous disregard of human life and dignity remain."

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