A military court on Tuesday sentenced two IDF soldiers from an elite unit to prison for shooting a camel in the West Bank.
One of the soldiers, who was filmed firing at the animal in a video that later went viral, was sentenced to four months in prison along with a suspended sentence. He was also demoted to the rank of private.
A second soldier who was in the car at the time of the incident was sentenced to two months, and was also demoted to the rank of 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 IDF said in a statement.
The two, members of the elite Duvdevan infantry unit, were arrested in December after footage they took of the shooting went viral.
In the incident, the soldier in the passenger seat filmed the other driving their car down a road in the desert. They video shows the driver firing at the camel as they pass by. One of the soldiers then bursts out laughing as they speed away.
Investigators discovered that the soldiers had attempted to delete the video, but were unsuccessful, the Haaretz newspaper reported. The daily said the camel was killed by the gunfire.
The incident took place in late November, while the two were on leave. Both soldiers were slated to begin officer’s training in December.
Etti Altman, chair of the Israeli animal rights NGO “Let the Animals Live,” slammed the incident in December as “shameful” and called for an extended prison term for each of the two soldiers. “Where did their compassion go, the mercy toward defenseless creatures?” she asked.